Yesterday at the kick-off of Equality Federation’s virtual Leadership Conference, I made the bittersweet announcement that after a long and wonderful run, I have decided to step down at the end of 2020—on my 10th anniversary—as leader of the Equality Federation. It has been a great honor to not only serve in this position for a decade but also to have been involved with the Equality Federation from its very inception.
In 1997, as Political Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, I joined LGBTQ leaders at the Highlander Center in Tennessee where, sitting in a circle of rocking chairs, we envisioned uniting as a state-based movement to form what would ultimately become the Equality Federation. Twenty-three years later, that movement and Equality Federation have come a long way.
A decade ago, when I came on as Executive Director, all eyes were on the states to win marriage. I’ll never forget the feeling in November 2012, when three states—Maine, Maryland, and Washington—did just that, becoming the first to pass marriage equality at the ballot box. In 2015, we again celebrated when the Supreme Court made marriage the law of the land.
And while marriage may seem like one of the biggest milestones of the last decade, one thing I love about Equality Federation and our members is that our vision for equality is expansive. We have supported our members in passing and defending nondiscrimination laws, defeating anti-transgender laws, increasing LGBTQ civic participation, banning conversion therapy, and lobbying for safer and more inclusive schools. In building toward a more just society, our members are creating coalitions and working with immigration, criminal justice reform, and racial justice organizations, working toward ending the HIV epidemic, and so much more.
That’s why I will leave with overwhelming pride in what we have built together, confidence in the future of the Federation, and gratitude for everything our team, members, and supporters have invested to make our work together a success.
I especially want to acknowledge the amazing Federation staff and board. Our staff, which has tripled in size since I started, is the heart and soul of our work. I love them and will miss seeing them every day. But I am so confident that I’m leaving the Federation in very strong hands to continue the work.
Our Board of Directors, who have supported my leadership and helped guide the organization through a period of development and growth, will be forming a succession committee to select a leader to follow after I leave.
In the meantime, I will enjoy the next five months of working hard with all of you to strengthen our movement, connecting with as many of you as possible, and leaving the Federation stronger than ever.