Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders announced this week that Lee Swislow, Executive Director since 2005, will retire from her position in April 2014, when she turns 65.
“I’ve had the best job I could ever want,” said Swislow. “I’ve been privileged to work with a terrific board and a brilliant staff at a time when legal rights for our community have taken such huge leaps forward. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I’m confident that GLAD is the group to do it.”
“During an era that has been both exciting and challenging, Lee has overseen GLAD’s operations with skill, finesse, and vision,” said Dianne Phillips, President of GLAD’s Board of Directors. “She took an organization that was already extraordinary and leaves it stronger, more sophisticated, and more influential on the national stage. We deeply appreciate her service, and look forward to finding the next great leader for GLAD.”
Swislow’s tenure was marked by major victories in litigation on behalf of LGBT people and people living with HIV. Under Swislow, GLAD spearheaded the fight to bring down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as the organization won crucial legal victories in federal courts in Massachusetts (Gill v. Office of Personnel Management)and in Connecticut (Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management).
Other highlights include O’Donnabhain v. IRS, in which GLAD won the right of transgender people to deduct transition-related medical expenses; Kerrigan v. Department of Public Health, in which GLAD won the right of same-sex couples to marry in Connecticut; and Adoption of M.A. and R.A., in which GLAD won the right of same-sex couples to jointly adopt in Maine.
In 2009, GLAD launched the “6x12” campaign with the aim of bringing marriage equality to all six New England states by the end of 2012. The campaign was brought to completion when Rhode Island became the country’s tenth marriage state on May 2, 2013.
GLAD’s Board of Directors is currently engaged in the planning phase of the search for a new executive director, and the formal search will commence in the fall. At that time, both a job profile and a process for inquiries and applications will be announced.
“GLAD’s new executive director will have the opportunity to lead the next era of our history-making organization as we continue to attack ongoing and vitally important issues, such as transgender rights, the quality of life of LGBTQ youth and elders, ending the scourge of HIV, eliminating subtle forms of employment discrimination, and so much more,” said Phillips. “The challenges are many, and so are the opportunities.”
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.