One of the most popular booths at this year’s Capitol Pride of Salem festival sported flags with a golden “equal” sign in a navy blue square: Human Rights Campaign.
HRC Is the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization and it works towards an America where LGBT people are ensured basic equal rights. “We’re here,” said Kryztofur Printz, HRC Pride Coordinator for Oregon and SW Washington, “to further expand the equality movement in every way possible.”
Originally from Monmouth, Printz has organized eight pride events in 2014. “I couldn’t ask for a better year,” he says, “especially with us winning marriage equality in Oregon.”
Printz came out when he was fourteen. “It wasn’t easy,” he recalls, “whatsoever. I come from a small town and there was one other gay guy in my graduating class. But now, with every person that stops by the booth, I can expand their mind a little more. And that’s beneficial to the world in general.”
HRC provides support on many levels. It assists GLBT youth who need to know the issues and words for “coming out”; its Family Project educates and empowers GLBT people to protect their families through innovative strategies, and the group has produced a “Buying for Workplace Equality Guide” which identifies which companies do – and which do not – support GLBT employees with supportive workplace policies.
“I am part of history in the making,” Printz says. He’s been to Washington to discuss equality with national leaders and is making plans to help schools address bullying.
“I have a lot expected of me, and I’m very excited to be doing it.”