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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (The Task Force) is an organization working for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States. It was founded in 1973 in New York. The current acting executive director is Rea Carey.
As the first national LGBT rights organization, they were one of the sole political voices of LGBT Americans until the late 1980s, at which time organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign came to prominence in the federal arena.
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is
to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referendums and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s 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.
The Task Force's "Organizing and Training Program" is a division dedicated to discovering and instructing potential future leaders. Training is focused on the areas of fundraising, voter identification, and volunteer recruitment. Programs have included Electoral Leadership Trainings, LGBT Power Summits, and the National Action and Training Initiative.
The Task Force works with smaller, state-level LGBT organizations to build infrastructure and organizational capacity. In addition to running a conference on the subject, the Force assists organizations with problems such as:
- Board development
- Strategic planning
- Budgeting and financial systems
- Staffing structure
- Fund raising
- Building a base of supporters
- Building sustainable and diverse coalitions
- Executive director coaching
- Leveraging progressive political power in states
- Creating Change Conference
Creating Change is a national grassroots organizing LGBT conference. It is a skills building conference with over 2,000 attendees from all over the country. Each year the conference is held in a different region of the United States and is considered a unique environment where activists and leaders come together from diverse places and backgrounds to create a unique community that is both strengthening and inspiring to the participants. Plenary sessions provide a common meeting ground for the conference to explore current issues in the LGBT community. In 2003, the conference featured the first ever Skills Academy for Leadership and Action, an all day session dedicated to skills training for grassroots activists.
Public Policy & Government Affairs
This program lobbies public officials for new money, comprehensive anti-discrimination laws and equal protections, benefits and opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
Their federal advocacy includes advocating for hate crimes protections, employment and other nondiscrimination protections and equal benefits and regulatory treatment for LGBT people, couples and families.
This program's goals are to gain:
- A fair share of our tax dollars for the LGBT community.
- Government resources to meet for the LGBT community’s health and human service needs.
- Federal legislation to achieve hate crimes protections, employment and other nondiscrimination protections and equal benefits and regulatory treatment for LGBT people, couples and families.
- Transgender Civil Rights Project
The primary goal of the Transgender Civil Rights Project is to increase the number of state, local, and federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression. It provides legislative and strategy assistance, including evaluation of legislative language, to activists and organizations working to pass trans-inclusive anti-discrimination bills or to add transgender protections to existing laws. Although the primary work centers on nondiscrimination laws, the project provides assistance to policymakers and activists working to develop other policies or laws relating to transgender equality.
- Government Resources Project
Provides assistance to community-based organizations working to attain government resources.
- Legislative Lawyering Project
Provides assistance to activists, organizations, policymakers and political leaders with their efforts to pass pro-LGBT measures and defeat anti-LGBT proposals.
- LGBT Aging Initiative
Policy advocacy at the local, state and federal levels and with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advocate for the LGBT community’s elderly population.
- National Religious Leadership Roundtable
Roundtable that brings together people of faith who support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The Task Force has convened these meetings since 1997.
The goals of this project are to:
- Amplify the voice of pro-LGBT faith organizations in public discourse.
- Promote understanding of and respect for LGBT people within society at large and in communities of faith.
- Promote understanding and respect within LGBT communities for a variety of faith paths and for religious liberty.
- Achieve common goals that promote equality, spirituality and justice.
- Institute for Welcoming Resources
Provides new resources, training and strategies to help increase the number of people of faith who support equality for LGBT people.
- National Policy Roundtable
Convenes the executive directors of policy-oriented national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and HIV/AIDS organizations and the national co-chairs of policy-oriented national associations of local and state organizations semi-annually for two days of discussion, strategic thinking, information sharing and development of collaborative projects. The Task Force has convened these meetings since 1997.
The goals of this project are to:
- Strengthen relationships between national LGBT organization leaders.
- Brief LGBT organization leaders on policy issues of common concern.
- Strategize about pending challenges to the LGBT movement and mechanisms for response.
- Generate collaborative efforts among national LGBT organizations and associations.
The Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a think tank that conducts social science research, policy analysis, strategy development, public education and advocacy to advance equality and greater understanding of LGBT people. The Policy Institute is the leading LGBT research institute in the U.S., and conducts groundbreaking research and analysis to document the demographics of the LGBT community and ways various policy frameworks affect LGBT people and families. The Policy Institute provides both in-depth, comprehensive studies and reports on key issues and research and data to respond to immediate challenges. The Policy Institute's publications and research studies are used by academics, other national and local organizations, grassroots activists, and the media.
- Anti-gay movement
- Demographics of the LGBT community
- Economic issues
- Education policy
- Elections and politics
- Faith Family policy, including marriage/partner recognition and parenting
- Hate violence
- Health and HIV/AIDS
- Public opinion
- Racial and economic justice
- Transgender issues
The Task Force has been criticized for being overly politically correct. There are also allegations that the organization has created the appearance that African Americans hold positions at all levels, though the movement as a whole is lacking in their involvement.
Previous Executive Directors
- Matt Foreman
- Lorri Jean
- Elizabeth Toledo
- Kerry Lobel
- Melinda Paras
- Peri Jude Radecic
- Torie Osborn
- Urvashi Vaid
- Virginia Apuzzo
- Jeff Levi
- Bruce Voeller
- Jean O'Leary
- Charles Brydon
- Lucia Valeska
- Creating Change Conference, NGLTF website, <http://www.thetaskforce.org/events/creating_change>. Retrieved on 2007-10-17
- 16th Annual Creating Change Conference Kicks Off in Miami, CommonDreams.org, November 7, 2003, <http://www.commondreams.org/scriptfiles/news2003/1107-10.htm>. Retrieved on 2007-10-17
- Public Policy & Government Affairs, NGLTF website, <http://www.thetaskforce.org/our_work/public_policy>. Retrieved on 2007-10-17
- National Religious Leadership Roundtable, NGLTF website, <http://www.thetaskforce.org/our_work/faith_initiatives/religious_leadership_roundtable>. Retrieved on 2007-10-17
- National Policy Roundtable, NGLTF website, <http://www.thetaskforce.org/our_work/public_policy/national_policy_roundtable>. Retrieved on 2007-10-17
- Policy Institute, NGLTF website, <http://www.thetaskforce.org/our_work/policy_institute>. Retrieved on 2007-10-17
- Robinson, Paul A (2005), Queer Wars: The New Gay Right and Its Critics, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226722007
- Rimmerman, Craig A; Wald, Kenneth D & Wilcox, Clyde (2000), The Politics of Gay Rights, University of Chicago Press, p. 85, ISBN 0226719995
- Task Force History, NGLTF website, <http://www.thetaskforce.org/about_us/history>. Retrieved on 2007-10-17