Veteran Organizer Elizabeth Toledo Named NGLTF Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force April 20 named Elizabeth Toledo the new NGLTF Executive Director effective June 1, 2000. Toledo, who most recently served as a Vice President of the National Organization for Women, is a veteran organizer and leader in the feminist movement.

"NGLTF is the recognized leader in grassroots political activity in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement," Toledo said. "I bring to NGLTF a commitment to grassroots training, organizing and mobilization. One of my primary goals at NGLTF will be to strengthen GLBT infrastructure in all 50 states and on the national level. Our movement for justice for the GLBT community has a shining future."

Toledo was elected to national office as Vice President—Action for NOW in July 1997. She previously served as president of the California chapter of NOW, where she was elected to the maximum-allowed two terms.

"Elizabeth Toledo is a perfect match for NGLTF," said Jerry Clark, co-chair of the NGLTF Board of Directors. "She is a charismatic leader and lead organizer in the progressive movement in the United States. She will be the first Latina and the first lesbian mother to lead NGLTF. We are extremely fortunate that Elizabeth chose to be a candidate to lead the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force."

Rachel Rosen, co-chair of the NGLTF Board of Directors, said that Toledo brings to NGLTF a wealth of fundraising experience. "While at NOW, Toledo was directly responsible for bringing in more than $1 million from new funding sources," Rosen said. "She is committed to expanding NGLTF’s family of supporters by tapping into new audiences and allies."

Rosen noted that Toledo’s appointment comes at a time when family issues are coming to the forefront of the GLBT movement. NGLTF last summer launched the Family Policy Project, which is aimed at securing inclusive definitions of family in national, state and local policy making. More recently, NGLTF cosponsored, along with the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, the "Make Your Family Count" Census 2000 campaign, which reached more than 16 million newspaper readers in the United States. "NGLTF is committed to forever changing the way GLBT families are defined and Toledo personifies this commitment," Rosen said.

NGLTF was founded in 1973 and is the oldest national GLBT rights group. NGLTF is the national leader in grassroots training, organizing and advocacy, and through its think-tank, the NGLTF Policy Institute, publishes cutting-edge research on GLBT issues.

Toledo replaces Kerry Lobel, who announced her resignation in December after three years of service as NGLTF executive director. During Lobel’s tenure, NGLTF expanded the political focus of the gay and lesbian movement to include bisexual and transgender people and to solidify its commitments to work on progressive issues of race, class and gender. Under her leadership, NGLTF strongly championed the rights of transgender people, supported affirmative action and other racial justice remedies, supported immigration rights, and advocated for elders, youth, rural and local activists and working class GLBT people. NGLTF’s budget increased significantly and the number of staff nearly doubled during Lobel’s tenure.

Toledo said she will continue Lobel’s commitment to bisexual and transgender issues, youth and elderly activists, efforts to eradicate racism in society and to the continued growth of NGLTF. "In order to move our many communities forward, we must recognize the things that we, as people of different ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations have in common," Toledo said. "We empower ourselves—and we become more powerful—when we seek allies and build bridges between people and causes that at first glance might appear different from our own. We transcend these differences when we realize our commonality and our communal interest in working together to fight every type of discrimination that we know."

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