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social sciences

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Equality California (EQCA)  
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O'Connor shifted the organization headquarters to Los Angeles from San Francisco and stabilized its finances. In 2013, he told Seth Hemmelgarn of the Bay Area Reporter that "Revitalizing an organization that had been through so much upheaval at a time when the LGBT movement for equality was shifting so dramatically was very complicated, and identifying strategies for doing that was the most challenging thing. That includes getting people's financial and political support behind what was happening, inspiring a staff to work as hard as they needed to work to make this possible, instilling confidence in elected officials once again, and instilling confidence in the press."

O'Connor's also built close relationships with partners such as the Transgender Law Center and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Under his leadership, Equality California reestablished its effectiveness in lobbying for glbtq-positive legislation and in building public support for gay rights. Among the legislative achievements EQCA deserves some credit for include landmark measures that support the rights of transgender students in state schools and that forbid licensed professions from offering sexual conversion therapy to minors.

Sponsor Message.

Equality California is now in a good position to exert a positive influence on the movement for equality not only in California but nationally as well.]


In its brief history, Equality California has become one of the most effective glbtq advocacy organizations in the United States. As a result, California has been transformed from a state with severely circumscribed rights for its glbtq citizens to one of the states with the most comprehensive civil rights protections for glbtq people.

[In the fallout from the passage of Proposition 8, however, the organization came under criticism for having allegedly run a campaign characterized by mismanagement and ineptness. Critics blamed the organization for a defeat that may have set back the equal rights movement for years.

New Executive Director John O'Connor seems to have stabilized the organization and it has reemerged as the state's leading advocacy group for equal rights.]

Nadine M. Jernewall

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Equality California Website:

Hemmelgarn, Seth. "O'Connor Stabilizes EQCA." Bay Area Reporter (December 26, 2013):

History and Background: San Francisco's Pioneering Law." Human Rights Campaign.

Rogers, Marc A., and Daley Dunham. "Contracts with Equality: An Evaluation of the San Francisco Equal Benefits Ordinance." Amherst, Mass.: Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, 2003.


    Citation Information
    Author: Jernewall, Nadine M.  
    Entry Title: Equality California (EQCA)  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated March 11, 2014  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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