If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know how highly I think of my friend Allyson Robinson. I knew she was a finalist for this high-visibility position for the last month or two, but today she was officially named Associate Director of Diversity for the HRC (Human Rights Campaign). She’s a great thinker and communicator and this position certainly calls for those skills. Many GLBT activists are still awfully angry at the HRC for supporting an Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) last fall that did not include transgender people, and many of these same people see Allyson’s hiring as a Machiavellian move by the HRC to smooth over the hard feelings.

And maybe it is.

But knowing how patient and intelligent and loving and savvy Allyson is, I think that being the first transwoman ever hired by the HRC — being inside the biggest Washington lobby for GLBT issues — is a mighty impressive step, and bears attention.

Good luck, Ally.

WASHINGTON–The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, today announced that Allyson Robinson has been named Associate Director of Diversity of the organization. Robinson, a longtime activist and ordained minister, will lead HRC and its volunteer base in promoting awareness of transgender issues and ensuring that all program areas demonstrate measurable commitment to transgender equality and inclusion.

“I am delighted that Allyson Robinson has joined the HRC team and I am eager to begin the hard work of educating the public and our elected officials about transgender issues with her,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Allyson’s background of facilitating communication and fostering meaningful relationships make her the ideal person to fill this crucially important role.”

“Advocacy to me means being a voice for the voiceless by ensuring their perspectives are heard and their needs fully considered,” said Allyson Robinson, the new HRC Associate Director of Diversity. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join HRC at this crucial moment in its support of full inclusion for the transgender community, and look forward to working with HRC Steering Committees and in partnership with other fair-minded and LGBT-inclusive organizations to lead that effort nationally.”

Allyson is a 1994 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she majored in physics. She received her Master of Divinity degree in theology, with a capstone emphasis in Social Justice, from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in 2007. Prior to her transition, she pastored congregations on two continents for nine years.

Robinson’s hiring has been applauded by leaders of the transgender community.

“Allyson is a committed activist for trans people and the people who love them,” said best-selling author Jenny Boylan. “A lot of work needs to be done to mend fences between HRC and the trans community, and Allyson, by dint of her dedication, compassion, and articulate insight, is the one to do it. I am sure her wisdom, poise, and humor will do well for all the members of our community, and I wish her all the best.”

“Allyson is a great addition, and as someone who works closely with HRC nationally and locally, I’m delighted to add her energy to expand the quantity, quality and awareness of fully inclusive workplaces and to support our diversity initiatives in Boston,” said HRC Business Council and Steering Committee member Diego Sanchez.

“Allyson comes to the position with my full support. Her ministerial teachings and learning, combined with her West Point training will be a great asset to HRC and the LGBT community where she will be able to listen to hearts and emotions of all people”, said Meghan Stabler, HRC Business Council and HRC Houston Steering Committee member. Stabler continued, “As a transgender person, she will be able to educate internally within HRC and externally with the community and allies on key issues, including HRC’s call for an inclusive ENDA.”

Robinson was selected to be Associate Director of Diversity following a four-month national search.

“The idea to create this new position came to life in spring 2007, just weeks into my new job. I envisioned strengthening HRC’s capacity to fulfill our stated commitment to transgender equality and inclusion,” said Cuc Vu, HRC Chief Diversity Officer. “Allyson now rounds out our diversity team and we will continue striving to meet our goals.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.