NCLR Mourns the Loss of Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Height

April 20, 2010

Today NCLR mourns the loss of LGBT civil rights leader Dorothy Height. A civil rights pioneer, Height was the president emirita of the National Council of Negro Women and dedicated her life’s work to racial justice and gender equality. President Obama has called Dorothy Height  “the godmother of the civil rights movement.” She was 98.

A statement from Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

“Our world is an immeasurably better place because of women like Dorothy Height, whose life, work, and dedication to social justice and equal rights serve as inspiration to us all. We mourn her loss and celebrate her life by continuing her fight for justice and equality for all.”

Robert Carter, Priest and Gay Activist, Dies at 82

March 15, 2010

by Dennis Hevesi | New York Times

The Rev. Robert Carter, who in the early 1970s was one of the first Roman Catholic priests in the country to declare publicly that he was gay and who helped found the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, died on Feb. 22 in the Bronx. He was 82.

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Two Years Later: Remembering Lawrence King

February 12, 2010

by Jody Marksamer, Esq., NCLR Youth Project Director

Lawrence King

Fifteen-year-old Lawrence King identified as gay and was out to many of his classmates at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, California. Like many other LGBT youth, Larry was the target of ridicule and harassment. But this harassment and bullying escalated far beyond what many LGBT youth have endured. On February 12, 2008, in the middle of his morning computer class, Larry King was shot twice in the head by his classmate, 14-year old Brandon McInerney. Larry died two days later.

As the second anniversary of his death approaches, we join with organizations and individuals across the country to remember Larry King. Numerous vigils are scheduled across the country in memory of Larry, to celebrate his life and raise our voices in unity to call for an end to violence and harassment directed at LGBT youth. To find a vigil or other community event in your area, or to list a remembrance event in your community, visit

With LGBT youth coming out at younger ages, it is vital that our schools—especially our junior high and middle schools—create safe and positive environments for all young people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Schools must teach students tolerance and respect. Passing state laws and implementing district policies aimed at preventing harassment and violence in schools is a necessary starting point. We also must ensure that teachers and administrators are well-trained and are able to respond to harassment in a way that stops it and keeps it from escalating.

The change that we are calling for is vital to the future of our community. Today, because of our persistent, hard work and the hard work of fellow LGBT youth advocates, we are a little bit closer to living in a world where all LGBT young people can grow, thrive, and live authentic lives free of violence and discrimination—but we still have a long way to go. We must continue to write and help pass laws and policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment in schools. We must continue to train teachers, lawyers, and administrators on meeting their legal responsibilities to better protect LGBT youth and create environments that foster respect. And we must continue to work with youth to empower them to know their rights so they can demand that the adults responsible for their safety and well-being treat them with the respect that they deserve and that the law requires.

Today, as we remember Larry King, we renew our commitment to changing the culture of violence and intolerance in schools so there are no more deaths, and all LGBT youth know they are valued and respected.

read more about NCLR’s Youth Project

Slain Transgender People Remembered around World

November 23, 2009

by Marcus Franklin | Associated Press

A year ago this month, Lateisha Green, a transgender woman, was shot to death as she sat in a car outside a house party in upstate New York. In July, a Syracuse jury convicted Dwight DeLee of manslaughter as a hate crime.

And on Friday, people from New York to the Netherlands gathered to remember Green and other hate crime victims like her on the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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Join Us for a Vigil in Honor of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

November 19, 2009

Please join us on Sunday, November 22, 2009, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 pm for a candlelight vigil at the intersection of Castro and Market Street. Please bring candles and join us in standing against hate and condemning the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado.

Brief statements will be made by LGBT and Latino community leaders.

A candlelight vigil will also be held in Oakland at the same time. It will be held at the Intersection of MacArthur blvd, Lakeshore, and Grand Ave in Oakland, CA. Click here for more information.

NCAA President Myles Brand, Advocate of LGBT and Women’s Equality in Sport, Remembered

September 17, 2009

Myles Brand

The President of the NCAA Myles Brand died on Wednesday. He was a staunch advocate of women’s equality in sport with Title IX and the first NCAA President to publically speak on the needs of LGBT student-athletes.

NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll remembers Myles Brand. “Under his leadership, education and trainings concerning LGBT coaches, administrators and student-athletes were put into place. NCLR’s first LGBT Sports Think Tank was co-sponsored by the NCAA in 2006 addressing negative recruiting based on actual or perceived sexual orientation generating recommended policy to stop this destructive practice in sports. We will truly miss his leadership in sports and are profoundly grateful to his furthering the acceptance of LGBT student athletes on the national scene.”

Read Christine Brennan’s feature on Myles Brand and his remarkable career here

September 11, 2009: Remembering What Could Have Been—a 13-Year-Old Makes a Wish

September 11, 2009

Earlier this week, our 13-year-old son Julian asked Sandy and me if we remembered where we were when we first heard about the attacks on September 11, 2001. Of course, we both remembered that fateful morning with tragic clarity. Julian remarked that he doesn’t remember hearing anything about the attacks back then. We knew why. Julian was five years old and in preschool. At drop-off that morning, the parents and teachers went through the motions in stunned silence, exchanging knowing looks but having no capacity or desire to explain what we were feeling and why to our (we now know, not-so) innocent children.

On this day of the eighth anniversary of that horrific morning, Julian and I did talk about what happened then. I recounted how the nation and the world felt united in an outpouring of compassion and disbelief. In the days following the attacks, we felt common humanity with virtually the entire world community. It seemed that we had an almost universal consensus condemning the attacks and a will to end terror and put a stop to the nations and groups who sponsored and supported such brutality. And then we invaded Iraq and elevated the Bush Doctrine, and everything pretty much went to hell in a hand basket. Slowly and painfully, our nation is recovering from September 11, 2001, but we may yet never recover from the wrong-headed aftermath.

As I listened to President Obama’s health care address to Congress Wednesday night, it felt so good to be proud of our President again, yet the legacy he inherited is proving to be almost too much to overcome. The most toxic, racist, mean-spirited fringe of the far right have more power over our national discourse than ever in modern history. Rep. Joe Wilson’s unprecedented breach of civility in his “uncontrolled” outburst is just the tip of the iceberg. But if we fail to steer clear of this virulent political atmosphere, our agenda of human and civil rights for LGBT folks in this country will be the Titanic. If Obama’s plan for reforming health care runs aground, you may as well head for the lifeboats. (Okay, I’ll stop now with the ocean disaster metaphors.)

The same forces who are apoplectic at the idea (THE IDEA!) that health care would be provided to undocumented workers are the same forces who fight against any progress or reform in favor of rights and security for LGBT folks. A lack of humanity and compassion does not suddenly emerge with the appearance of a U.S. birth certificate. If you are queer in this country, these folks hate you every bit as much as they hate an undocumented laborer worried about how she will get medicine for her baby. Obama must win on health care reform—because as LGBT people, we need that reform as much as anyone, and because his entire national agenda of greater inclusion, security, and humanity for all of us hangs in the balance.

Obama’s far right opponents have made very clear that taking him down on health care has nothing to do with actual health care, but everything to do with branding his administration a failure and halting any future progress on every issue we care about. We can’t let that happen. This is a classic win/win. If Obama wins, we win.

As Julian and I talked about the terror attacks from eight years ago, I told him how immeasurably I believed former President Bush’s course of action compounded the tragedy of that day. He said, “Well, maybe now things will be better.” I hope so deeply that Julian’s wish will come true. Our commitment must be in making that wish a reality—for us and the world we imagine might be possible.


Kate Kendell