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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 10 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 41
Task Force changes name, logo, slogan
Section One
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Task Force changes name, logo, slogan

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) announced on October 8 that it was changing its name, logo, and slogan.

The organization will now be known as the National LGBTQ Task Force, still 'The Task Force' for short. The new logo and the slogan 'Be You' are displayed on its website.

The group, which bills itself as 'the nation's oldest LGBTQ advocacy organization,' said in a statement that it was also 'upping its game to deliver full LGBTQ freedom, justice and equality.'

The new and more inclusive name, and the 'Be You' tagline reflect a new orientation for the Task Force, its Executive Director Rea Carey said.

'We are seeing a real palpable hunger in LGBTQ people's hearts not just to be out, but to bring their entire selves to every aspect of their lives: to 'Be You' without fear, without persecution, without discrimination,' Carey said.

'And there is a deep desire for more change, to look beyond marriage equality, with millions of us still facing formidable barriers in every aspect of our lives: at school, in housing, employment, in health care, in our faith congregations, in retirement and in basic human rights.

'Now more than ever we have the power to define the future we want - a world where every LGBTQ person can be themselves without any barriers. We have worked hard for decades to create this momentum. Let's seize this opportunity, let's be ourselves fully, and let's make a future together that's worthy of our struggle,' stressed Carey.

'This is a great time for the Task Force!' Seattle activist Marsha Botzer told SGN. 'It's very satisfying for me to see this.'

A former Co-Chair of the Task Force and current Board member, Botzer was in on the discussions leading up to the changes. The Task Force Board 'thought long and hard' before going forward, she said, but ultimately decided they had to 'create a face of the Task Force that shows what we really do.'

'There's a lot going on,' Botzer said. 'The Creating Change Conference we sponsor every year really allowed us to watch how the movement has developed. We came to the conclusion that aggressive representation is needed for the movement to go forward.'

The Task Force 'will stay connected with the research and policy work' it has done in the past, Botzer said - its groundbreaking study of the Trans community, Injustice at Every Turn, for example - 'but there's a lot more to be done.'

The Task Force's Rea Carey told the Washington Post that the group would now focus on post-marriage realities.

'We have a vision of things beyond legal equality,' Carey said. 'For example, we have a federal hate crimes law and many states have hate crimes laws that are inclusive of LGBTQ people. But to be able to be truly free would be to walk down the street, holding hands with your partner and not fearing that you'll be hit over the head with a bottle. Winning marriage doesn't erase the fact that people will still face violence because of their sexual preference or gender identity.'

The Task Force has been a policy powerhouse, with an $8.5 million annual budget and offices in five cities nationwide.

The group was one of the first to push to repeal sodomy laws. It also has sought greater protections for LGBT people in the workplace; expanding HIV/AIDS care and research funding; and more recently, was among a handful of national organizations working with the Obama administration to implement a series of executive actions protecting the partners of Gay and Lesbian federal workers.

The Task Force's origins go far back in movement history, to the immediate aftermath of the Stonewall rebellion.

The National Gay Task Force, as it was originally called, was founded in 1973, by members of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), which itself came about as a 1969 split off from the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), organized less than a month after Stonewall. Stonewall heroine Sylvia Rivera was one of the GAA's founding members.

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