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December 20, 2018

Saying Goodbye to the Job of a Lifetime

Move to San Francisco to become NCLR Legal Director. Launch an LGBTQ Youth Project. Debate Rev. Jerry Falwell on national TV over Ellen DeGeneres’s coming out. Winning the first custody cases for LGBTQ parents. Launch Immigration Project and Elder Law Project. Lead on transgender legal advocacy. Become a new parent…twice. Deepen NCLR’s intersectional focus. A Sports Project to end homophobia in sports. The death of two parents and baby brother. Winning marriage in California. A wedding. The beginning of the end of Conversion Therapy. Sue a sitting President. Find my 50’s are best decade ever. Fearing for the future. Embracing the future. The birth of grandbaby. Best is yet to come…

In my breathtaking 24 years at NCLR these are the most tightly curated headlines possible. For every day I have been here, I could give you a new one. When I started at NCLR as Legal Director in 1994 I was stunned at the number of LGBTQ people under daily assault. NCLR has always represented the breadth of our community – right from our start in 1977, our founder, Donna Hitchens, knew that our legal advocacy had to include every LGBTQ person, even as lesbians and our issues were woefully underrepresented and shunted to the sidelines. NCLR changed all that and I have enjoyed the job of a lifetime.

As I wind down my last days leading NCLR, I am awash in gratitude that this has been my life. I have enjoyed a front-row seat to some of the greatest moments in our movement. I have also been laid low by some of our hardest days. But through it all I have always known how lucky I am to have that front-row seat. To be a part of a liberation movement as it is happening, to be an architect of how to both dismantle systems that oppress and build cultures that celebrate difference and check privilege. We remain far from where we need to be as a movement and a nation. But the difference between my first day at NCLR and where we are now as LGBTQ people in this culture is dizzying.

I announced I was stepping down last March and now, 9 months later the day is almost here. I am so glad for this long goodbye. It gave me a chance to see many of those who helped make this job a true joy. Donors, colleagues, activists, and friends who challenged me to bring my all to this work every day and who, in turn, were NCLR champions. Over these past months, I have been overwhelmed almost daily by the love and support. I am humbled, grateful and moved to tears … often.

While I leave the best job ever, I leave behind the most talented and committed staff anywhere. These folks do all the work you love, invest in, and cheer. The NCLR team has the most brilliant and ferocious advocates anywhere and what they do, day in and day out, will continue. And I will remain their biggest fan and champion.

Thank you to this team, to the NCLR Board, to my colleagues in every movement, and to you, the supporters and donors who have made our remarkable work possible. Without you, I would not have made it this long, nor would we have so fiercely and consistently had our reach exceed our grasp. I cannot wait to see what NCLR does next … I will be the one cheering the loudest.

NCLR will continue to be one of the most effective, fearless and bad-ass organizations fighting back against this Administration and its endless attacks on the LGBTQ community and all we have achieved. We will always be on the front line. We will always look for ways to win against all odds. We will always believe in justice for all.

As for my future, I am not sure what I will be doing next, but I will not be quiet for long. Whatever challenging and consequential new adventure lies ahead, there will be nothing again like this. You can reach me after December 31 at kendell.kate@gmail.com. Don’t be a stranger…

With much love,
Kate

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