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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) is a nonprofit organization that supports grassroots organizing and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. Founded in 1973, NGLTF works to strengthen the gay and lesbian movement at the state and local levels while connecting these activities to a national agenda. It is recognized as the leading activist organization in the national gay and lesbian movement, and serves as a national resource center for state and local organizations. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

NGLTF works to combat antigay violence and antigay legislative and ballot measures. It also lobbies state and federal governments to end job discrimination and repeal sodomy laws. With the arrival of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, NGLTF sought government funding of medical research, and has campaigned for reform of the health care system.

In 1997 NGLTF played a major role in the creation of a new national political organization, the Federation of Statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Political Organizations. The purpose of the federation, which draws its membership from 32 state groups, is to strengthen the efforts of these statewide groups through a network that will foster strategizing across state lines, building stronger state organizations, and developing good working relationships between state and national groups. The need for the federation grew out of meetings of statewide activists at the NGLTF annual Creating Change Conference, held each November in a major U.S. city.

The federation consists of 16 executive committee members, selected from each region of the country, who will develop the federation's mission. NGLTF serves as coordinator of the federation, supporting its work through the creation and dissemination of information and materials and the making of regular conference calls.

At the federal level, NGLTF was unsuccessful in its opposition to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which permits states to bar legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. In 1988 NGLTF renewed its efforts to have Congress expand the federal mandate for prosecution of hate crimes including crimes that are committed against people because of their sexual orientation. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1529 and H.R. 3081) would add hate crimes based on an individual's real or perceived sexual orientation to the list of bias crimes that the federal government can prosecute.

In 2002, the NGLTF Policy Institute released the first and largest-ever study of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender African Americans. This study documented among these groups significant numbers of individuals with children, high levels of political participation, and widespread experiences of racism and homophobia.

NGLTF, through its policy institute, conducts research and publishes studies on many topics, including civil rights, workplace discrimination, violence, health, campus activities, and families.

further readings

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Available online at <www.ngltf.org> (accessed July 28, 2003).

cross-references

Civil Rights; Discrimination; Equal Protection; Gay and Lesbian Rights: Same-Sex Marriage.

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