August 13, 2021

Christopher Vasquez, NCLR Communications Director
415.365.1337 | cvasquez@nclrights.org

SAN FRANCISCO, CANCLR is saddened to hear of the passing of our long-time friend and LGBTQ philanthropist and trailblazer, Ambassador James (Jim) Hormel. Jim made history in 1999 when former President Bill Clinton appointed him to serve as the first openly LGBTQ United States Ambassador.  

NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon issued the following statement:
“We are saddened by the news of the passing of our dear friend, Jim Hormel. Jim made history as the first openly gay US ambassador when appointed to Luxembourg by President Clinton in 1999. But long before his appointment and for decades beyond, James C. Hormel helped all of us make history.”

A tireless philanthropist, his support for democracy and civil liberties served as a beacon of hope well before supporting LGBTQ causes was fashionable. Jim was an early supporter of NCLR, always understanding the imperative that the protection of our families is central to our equality, the importance of our intersectional approach to civil rights, and the shared belief that freedoms are inextricably linked, so our fight for justice must include all of us. His love of San Francisco and his support of so many of our institutions will ensure his legacy is felt for generations to come.”

NCLR’s former Executive Director Kate Kendell, who knew Jim well, shared this statement:  “Jim’s passing leaves a gaping hole in many hearts. From my earliest days at NCLR, Jim invested in both me and our work. His support, love, and friendship through the years helped sustain me through many challenging moments. He embodied an impish joy even as his resume lauded many accomplishments. We will miss everything about him and I know NCLR will continue to fight on in his legacy.”  

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The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Since its founding, NCLR has maintained a longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and the LGBTQ community’s most vulnerable. https://www.nclrights.org