45 States To Gather For Meeting

July 27, 1999

Participants head for Minneapolis to discuss building the grassroots GLBT movement; Federation expands from 36 states in 1998

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

Representatives from a record-breaking 45 states and the District of Columbia will converge in Minneapolis beginning Thursday, July 29, for the mid-year meeting of the Federation of Statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Political Organizations. Participants will evaluate and discuss the future of Equality Begins at Home, a campaign that witnessed 350 rallies and other events last March in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. In addition, state leaders will look ahead to the year 2000 elections, focus on fundraising training and discuss how to strengthen grassroots organizing.

"The Federation gathering comes at an exciting and historic time in the GLBT movement for social justice," said New Jersey's Gina Reiss, co-chair of the Federation. "As a result of the Federation's work, we witnessed more pro-GLBT bills filed in state legislatures this year than in the history of the GLBT movement. And as a whole, there were more legislative advances in 1999 than ever before. None of this happened by accident. We are finally beginning to see the proof of those special words, 'Equality Begins at Home.'"

Concurrent with the Federation meeting, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will sponsor its annual Youth Leadership Institute Ð a comprehensive GLBT youth training program — in Minneapolis. YLI involves some 20 young activists between the ages of 16 to 22. All of the participants already have some experience in GLBT activism; each will be expected to give back to the community after they complete the five-day, skills-building program.

This year, the young activists had the opportunity to meet with Federation representatives from their home states. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss how to bring people from different backgrounds together to build the GLBT movement on the local level. "State groups are ground zero in our struggle for equality and justice and it is essential that we support them," said Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "It is equally important that we both teach — and listen to — today's youth leaders."

"We are thrilled by the progress we've made in statewide organizing in the past year," said Illinois' Roger Leishman, co-chair of the Federation. "Minneapolis this week will be the launching pad for even greater collaboration between state activists, youth leaders, NGLTF and other national organizations."


Alaskans for Civil Rights, Allison Mendel, 907-279-5001
Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama, David White, 205-985-5609
Arkansas Equality Network, Anne Shelley, 501-571-3157
Arizona Human Rights Fund, Kirk Baxter, 602-650-0900
California Alliance for Pride and Equality, Esther Lee/Rob Hennig, 415-557-1300
Equality Colorado, Dede dePercin, 303-839-5540
Connecticut Coalition for LGBT Civil Rights, Pura Gomez, 860-529-4260
The D.C. Coalition: A Community of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People, Everett Hamilton
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (D.C.), Bob Summersgill, 202-334-2952
Delaware ACLU Lesbian & Gay Civil Rights Project, Peter Medwick, 302-654-3966
Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, 813-273-8769
Georgia Equality Project, Harry Knox, 404-872-3600
Marriage Project Hawaii, Carol Greenhouse
Iowa Coalition for Human Rights, Peg Sandeen, 515-284-0245
Illinois ACLU Gay/Lesbian Rights, Roger Leishman, 312-2019740
Illinois Federation for Human Rights, Rick Garcia, 773-244-3371
It's Time, Illinois!, Miranda Stevens-Miller, 847-394-9293
Justice, Inc. (Indiana), Dan McNelly, 812-337-2374
LGBT Fairness Indiana, Marla Stevens, 317-780-0001
Freedom Coalition (Kansas), Ben Zimmerman, 785-843-7256
Kentucky Fairness Alliance, Maria Price, 502-897-1973
Louisiana Lesbian and Gay PAC, Chris Daigle, 504-836-9086
Louisiana Electorate of Gays and Lesbians, Gerard Beaudoin, 504-595-8586
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Political Alliance of Western Masssachusetts, Stacy Roth, 413-584-9556
Free State Justice Campaign, Nancy Meyer
Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, David Garrity, 207-774-5412
Triangle Foundation (Michigan), Sean Kosofsky, 313-537-3323
OutFront Minnesota, Scott Fearing, 612-822-0127
Privacy Rights Education Project (Missouri), Jeff Wunrow, 314-862-4900
Pride! (Montana), Karl Olson, 406-442-9322
Equality North Carolina, MK Cullen, 919-829-0343
Equality North Dakota, Robert Uebel, 701-235-7481
Citizens for Equal Protection (Nebraska), Scott Winkler, 402-554-2503
Out and Equal–New Hampshire, Brendan Denehy, 603-358-2167
New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Coalition, Gina Reiss, 732-828-1266
Coalition for Equality in New Mexico, Gloria Nieto, 505-983-5758
It's Time, Ohio!, Mary Ann Horton, 614-470-4245
Ohio Association of Community Centers, Jeff Redfield, 614-299-7764
Oklahoma Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus, Paul Thompson, 405-222-6151
Basic Rights Oregon, Jean Harris, 503-222-6151
Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition, Sue Rankin, 814-863-8415
Rhode Island Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, Kate Monteiro, 401-274-9548
South Carolina Gay/Lesbian Pride Movement, Tony Snell
FACES of South Dakota, Lawrence Novotny
Lesbian and Gay Coalition for Justice (Tennessee), Rhonda White, 615-297-4753
Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, Dianne Hardy-Garcia, 512-474-5475
Virginians for Justice, Shirley Lesser, 804-643-4816
Equality Washington, Rich Pfouts
Action Wisconsin, Dan Ross, 608-257-6571
West Virginia Lesbian and Gay Coalition, Chuck Smith, 304-766-3180
UGLW Fund for Social Change (Wyoming), John Little, 307-631-5723


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movementís premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.