Kelley Robinson, HRC President

When I think of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), I can’t help not to think of the time I was part of the Millenium March on Washington and HRC’s fundraising concert on April 29, 2000, “Equality Rocks.”

Therefore, I am glad to introduce you to HRC’s first African-American/gay woman to lead the organization: Kelley Robinson, who officially became president on November 28, 2022.

Do you have any women LGBT icons who have left a mark on you and/or motivated you to be part of an LGBT organization?

When I think of women LGBTQ+ icons who have inspired me, I think of Marsha P. Johnson. She has been called the Rosa Parks of the LGBTQ+ movement, and I couldn’t agree more. Along with Sylvia Rivera, a fellow LGBTQ+ pioneer and transgender woman of color, Marsha P. Johnson was among the founders of the Gay Liberation Front.  Whether it was marching for justice, organizing for change, or resisting oppression, both icon pioneers laid the groundwork for the progress we enjoy today.

How did the opportunity to be the new president at HRC come about for you? Was it something you looked for or did it find you?

The Dobbs decision struck a chord with me, especially as a Black queer woman. The looming threat to Obergefell felt personal, especially since I had just been married to my wife Becky. The whole ordeal ignited a profound sense of responsibility to protect my family and community. I view this opportunity to lead at this critical time in our movement as more than a position; it’s a deeply personal commitment to fight for equality and justice in a way that resonates with my identity and experiences, and it is my honor.

It is obvious you are very passionate about what you do, you are also very relatable. Besides your background…there is no wonder why you were elected as President. I am very proud of you and for paving the way for other women! That said, what did you see as your biggest challenges when you first started at HRC and how much have those challenges changed since 2022?

With so much at stake, one of the greatest challenges is determining which fights to bring front and center. At any given day, we are focused on a wide range of challenges, access to healthcare, workplace equality, protecting democracy, joining the movement for LGBTQ+ rights, bringing an end to HIV/AIDS within our lifetimes, and electing LGBTQ+ leaders up and down the ballot. The list goes on. We are called to this moment so every decision we make matters. That reality can be challenging.

Do you know how big is the women’s base of members and/or supporters at HRC? What’s their demographics?

For LGBTQ+ women and non-binary folks, the journey continues to be full of twists and turns. I want to be clear that liberation is not just about rights; it’s about recognizing our unique struggles. Personally, I’ve seen a shift – from fighting for basic rights to diving deep into issues like reproductive rights and challenging gender norms. It’s a journey that resonates with my own experiences, pushing for inclusivity that truly embraces the richness of our diverse stories within the LGBTQ+ community.

Being a wife and a mom, how do you balance your private life with your current position?

Being a wife and mom is at the center of everything I do! My wife Becky is a first-generation woman of Indian descent; we were able to have our son via in-vitro fertilization. LGBTQ+ rights with the Human Rights Campaign, reproductive rights with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund… our family informs my fight every day.

Having worked with President Obama’s campaign in 2008, what are your expectations for this year’s presidential elections and what the future of the LGBTQ+ rights look like? In October 2023 HRC endorsed Biden-Harris for 2024. There is a lot at stake for us…

In 2024, we need to make sure Trump doesn’t make it out of the jailhouse and back to the White House! We need to hold the Senate and take back the House for the people. We need to ramp up our efforts to ensure equal rights for all. HRC made a stance to emphasize exactly how much is at stake with this election, and to mobilize the LGBTQ+ community and our allies to exercise our right to vote. We have a pro-equality majority in the U.S. – extremism may win attention, but equality wins elections!

Last and (definitely) not least, how do you see LGBTQ+ rights specifically in Florida in 2024?

As you know, extremists have made Florida their battleground as they seek to systemically erase our equal rights. LGBTQ+ Floridians are subject to an inconsistent patchwork of legal protections on a municipal level. There are cities and towns that are doing what they can to protect LGBTQ+ citizens, but Florida is a great example of why we need to push for rights and protections on a federal level. It heartens me to see local LGBTQ+ advocates working tirelessly to push back against hate. And on a national level? We are fighting for you, Florida.

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