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social sciences

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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)  

The Task Force is the oldest continuously operating national gay and lesbian interest group in the United States. Formed in 1973 as the National Gay Task Force by members of the Gay Activists Alliance in New York City, including Bruce Voeller, the group has played a central role in the development of the glbtq movement for equal rights.

Over the years the group's executive directors have often been key figures within the glbtq movement, including Voeller, Virginia Apuzzo, Matt Foreman, Lorri Jean, Jeffrey Levi, Jean O'Leary, Torie Osborn, Melinda Paras, and Urvashi Vaid.

Sponsor Message.

The Task Force lobbies the federal government on glbtq issues, but the group emphasizes its work with state and local glbtq groups, especially through its nonprofit Policy Institute, which is an information center for education and organizing. The Policy Institute's publications on glbtq civil rights, voting and elections, and state legislative activity, among others, have been indispensable for activists and researchers.

The group addresses many issues, including antidiscrimination, anti-gay ballot initiatives, general , harassment, violence, laws, issues for gay and lesbian families, and ensuring AIDS funding. The Task Force also builds connections with other civil rights groups focused on race and ethnicity, gender discrimination, abortion, and even the death penalty. Goals and strategy are decided in the national office. The group does not have local chapters.

Accomplishments

The Task Force grew rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s and built an impressive record of accomplishments. In 1975 the group convinced the U. S. Civil Service Commission to allow homosexuals to serve in government employment. That same year the group helped convince Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY) to introduce the first gay rights bill in Congress.

In 1978 the Task Force released the first-ever study of sexual orientation discrimination in private companies.

The group's name was changed to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) in 1985, and the central office was moved from New York City to Washington, D. C.

In the early 1980s the Task Force became the first national group to give significant attention to hate crimes against glbtq people by launching a national project on hate crime and producing a series of reports on anti-gay hate crime. The group led the national hate crimes coalition, which passed the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act.

In 1991, the Task Force began a national anti-discrimination campaign against the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain and developed the Fight the Right Action Kit, which has been used by thousands of activists.

The NGLTF started its Policy Institute in 1995, with John D'Emilio as director. In the same year, it hosted the first Progressive People of Color Grassroots Organizers Summit.

Growth and Retrenchment

By 1996 the group had a budget of $3.1 million, 35,000 members, and a staff of 21. In the late 1990s the Task Force began publishing historic reports on everything from glbtq voting to glbtq-related legislation in the states. In addition, in 1997 the Task Force sponsored the founding of the Federation of Statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Political Organizations, with the hope of building statewide organizations in all 50 states.

In 1999 the Federation sponsored Equality Begins at Home, a campaign that organized 350 rallies and events in all 50 state capitals.

By 2000 NGLTF had a full-time staff of 35 and a budget approaching $4.4 million. In 2001, however, the group's budget dropped to $3.6 million; membership levels remained at about 35,000. The budget declined further in 2002 to $3.2 million, but after a series of staff turnovers in top positions from 2001 to 2003, the Task Force now seems poised to enhance its role of mobilizing the movement at the grassroots through foundation grants and contributions that fund its unique programs.

Indeed, through a variety of special organizing projects in 2002, the Task Force helped local activists introduce new local and state legislation to protect glbtq rights and helped defeat a number of anti-gay ballot initiatives.

Donald P. Haider-Markel

     

 
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Former President Bill Clinton greets attendees at a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force fundraiser in Miami, Florida in 2006.
  
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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  Boycotts

Boycotts, the refusal to patronize companies or institutions, have in recent decades been organized by glbtq rights advocates to protest discriminatory practices and policies.

social sciences >> Overview:  Deaf Culture

Members of the Deaf community, which defines deafness not as a disability but as a separate culture with its own vibrant vernacular, have organized an international support network of glbtq Deaf people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

The U.S. gay rights movement has made significant progress toward achieving equality for glbtq Americans, and in the process has become more inclusive and diverse, but much remains to be done.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gaybashing

Violence perpetrated against people thought by their attackers to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered occurs with disturbing frequency in the United States and other countries.

social sciences >> Overview:  Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes are crimes towards persons or groups motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Holidays and Observances

Throughout the year, the glbtq community unites in pride and in protest, in recognition of a rich heritage and in hope for the future.

social sciences >> Overview:  Miami and Key West

The site of contentious battles for glbtq rights, Miami is home to a vibrant glbtq community; as is Key West, which has a long tradition of celebrating diversity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Seniors' Resources

As the aging population has grown, more organizations have emerged that are dedicated to providing much-needed services and information, along with socialization and activism opportunities, to glbtq senior citizens.

social sciences >> Overview:  Teachers

Historically, glbtq teachers have faced all manner of social pressures, including open hostiliy and expectations that they hide their sexuality; now, however, teacher groups and individuals are working to improve the climate for glbtq teachers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Workplace Discrimination

Although work remains to be done, the expansion of protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation stands as one of the significant accomplishments of the American lesbian and gay civil rights movement.

social sciences >> Apuzzo, Virginia

American activist Virginia Apuzzo has dedicated her life to gay and lesbian issues, including civil rights, health care, and the concerns of aging members of the glbtq community.

social sciences >> BiNet USA

BiNet USA is the oldest national bisexual advocacy organization in the United States, attempting to serve as a voice of bisexual and pansexual people.

social sciences >> Empire State Pride Agenda

The Empire State Pride Agenda, which lobbies New York governments at both state and local levels for equal rights, is recognized as among the strongest statewide glbtq political organizations in the United States.

social sciences >> Endean, Steve

Steve Endean, one of the most important glbtq activists of the post-Stonewall era, stirred controversy within and outside gay politics in his conviction that "mainstreaming" the movement was the way for glbtq Americans to achieve equality.

social sciences >> Equality California (EQCA)

Equality California (EQCA) is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide glbtq advocacy and civil rights organizations in the United States.

social sciences >> Gay Activists Alliance

An important organization of the early post-Stonewall era, the Gay Activists Alliance, which flourished from 1969 to 1974, strove to give gay men and lesbians visibility in American politics.

social sciences >> Kameny, Frank

One of the founding fathers of the American gay rights movement, Frank Kameny helped radicalize the homophile movement, preparing the way for the mass movement for equality initiated by the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

social sciences >> O'Leary, Jean

Jean O'Leary devoted her life to activism for gay and lesbian rights.

social sciences >> Vaid, Urvashi

Activist Urvashi Vaid has devoted her energies to trying to create a queer liberation movement that would have as its core the liberation of all people.

social sciences >> Voeller, Bruce

American activist and scientist Bruce Voeller was a leader in both the gay rights movement and the fight against AIDS.


    Bibliography
   

Rayside, David Morton. On the Fringe: Gays and Lesbians in Politics. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998.

Riggle, Ellen D. B., and Barry L. Tadlock. eds. Gays and Lesbians in the Democratic Process. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Rimmerman, Craig A. From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002.

Smith, Raymond A., and Donald P. Haider-Markel. Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation. Denver, Colo.: ABC-CLIO Publishers, 2002.

Vaid, Urvashi. Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Haider-Markel, Donald P.  
    Entry Title: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 6, 2007  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/nat_gay_lesbian_tf.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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