Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education for 40 Years

Ben Panico

Equality Project Manager

Ben Panico fights for employment non-discrimination protections as the Equality Project Manager with the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Previously, Panico served in the Obama Administration from 2015 to 2017. He first worked at the Department of Homeland Security as the Confidential Assistant to the General Counsel before finishing the administration as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Prior to joining the Administration, Panico worked for the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus as the David Bohnett Victory Congressional Fellow. He supported the work of the Equality Caucus by tracking legislation, drafting memos and letters, and developing the Caucus’ website and social media platforms. During the fellowship, Panico received media attention for being the only openly transgender staffer on Capitol Hill.

Panico graduated from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) with a Bachelor’s in English and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. While attending JHU, he served as the Director of Operations for the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance, successfully lobbied university administrators for gender-inclusive housing, and spearheaded the development of a Safe Zone training program. He also interned with Equality Maryland where he worked on the state’s successful campaigns for marriage equality and gender-identity non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Originally from New Haven, CT, Panico currently lives in Oakland, CA, where he enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and playing the ukulele.

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” – Audre Lorde

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