Chad Griffin doesn't officially take over as president of the Human Rights Campaign until June. But he was center stage at the recent HRC Gala in Los Angeles where he talked his motivation for deciding to head the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group in the US.
'My motivation for this work is the young LGBT people across this country in all 50 states,' Griffin told a ballroom of supporters at the JW Marriot. 'Having grown up in a small town in Southern Arkansas, I understand just how isolated kids may feel that are struggling and questioning their sexual orientation or their gender identity.'
To drive the point home, Griffin he reminded the crowd just what many youths are still facing each day: 'Right now, somewhere in this country tonight, a young person has closed the door to their bedroom, turned off the lights and for countless hours, they will stare at the ceiling wondering about the potential doom that awaits them the next day - at school, at church, and even on the streets of their community. We have a responsibility to change that because we know all too well that there are real-life consequences to inaction.'
Griffin has developed a strong reputation for taking action and getting results as evidenced by his current role as head of the American Foundation for Equal Rights which sponsored the federal lawsuit that resulted in the courts overturning Prop. 8, a voter-approved initiative which banned gay marriage in California.
'As I approach my first day on the job in June, I'll have a lot more to say about how we're going to take HRC to the next level and to finally break down those remaining dark walls of discrimination,' Griffin said.
He also praised outgoing HRC President Joe Solmonese for his leadership and for building a membership of more than 1 million people.
'We are all extremely grateful for his many years of commitment and dedication,' he said. 'I'm particularly aware of the army, now well over 1 million strong, that he has helped to build that has propelled out movement forward every single day.'