National Center for Lesbian Rights

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I’ve been waiting 7 months to say this: I work at NCLR!

Though I didn’t know what my first message to you would look like, I knew no matter what, I would end it the same way: let’s get to work.

When we announced in December that I would be starting in this role, we had no idea that it would be in the midst of a global health pandemic. In an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible during this public health emergency, NCLR is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as the state and local government. So today, instead of writing you from my office, I’m writing you from my home. Our community is particularly vulnerable during times like this and we show our strength by doing what we can to take care of our ourselves and each other. NCLR will rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of our community.

And even as our world is changing, I know what is in front of me.

As I step into this moment, I’m humbled by the greatness of what I’m joining. I’m excited to be part of NCLR’s legacy of courage and fearlessness, and to stand on the shoulders of giants. I am honored to lead NCLR as we carve a path to LGBTQ+ equality.

And we have so much to be proud of. Over the past several months, we have seen states adopt laws protecting young people from the harmful practices of conversion therapy. LGBTQ+ inclusive sexual education is beginning to be taught in states across the country. More employers are providing gender‑affirming, medically necessary healthcare, and NCLR has been at the forefront of these incredible wins. I’m so proud to join this team.

And still, even as we celebrate these victories, we all know we have much more to do. Thankfully, there’s a lot of fight in this community, and these are the moments we suit up for. LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their heterosexual, cisgender peers, while LGBTQ older adults are twice as likely to live alone – creating vulnerability for our community at both sides of the age spectrum. Black, transgender women, and all transgender women of color face extraordinary and too often fatal violence. The LGBTQ+ population is disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, and the reproductive health and rights movements must better represent the needs of LGBTQ+ families. The disparities our community face is even greater when folks are also marginalized as a result of race, gender, ability, socioeconomic class and other identities. And as we spend the month of March saluting women and their contributions across the globe, we must make sure these celebrations include the many remarkable lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer women who have contributed to women’s history.

There’s a lot to be done, and I’m proud to be on your team as we win new victories and soar to new heights. In response to the current climate, we’ve postponed our welcome events, but I still very much look forward to meeting you. In the meantime, we are working on some creative ways to engage with you!

Though the start of my time at NCLR looks nothing like the way I imagined, my purpose and dedication to our movement remains crystal clear. Resilience is woven in the fabric of our LGBTQ+ movement and during this time we will do what we always do – move toward greatness.

I’ll close this message in the same way I predicted I would, with a sentiment that is all at once a challenge, invitation, promise, and plea: let’s get to work.

In gratitude and service,

Imani

Executive Director, NCLR

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