Advancing LGBT Civil Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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Nation’s Premier LGBT Civil Rights Summit Releases 31 LGBT History Month Icons

Seven of This Year’s Icons Played Important Roles in the Democratic Convention and Politics

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Ahead of Equality Forum 2016, scheduled to take place during this summer’s Democratic National Convention, the nation’s premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights summit today released 31 LGBT History Month Icons – seven of whom relate directly to politics and the Democratic National Convention. 

“As part of this year’s list of LGBT History Month Icons, we thought it was important to mark the close connection and historic role our community has played in the democratic process,” said Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum’s Founder and Executive Director“Since the 24th annual Equality Forum will take place July 25th through July 28th during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, several of this year’s LGBT History Month Icons were selected for the important role they have played in representing the LGBT movement within the Democratic Party and politics in general.” 

Equality Forum 2016 recently announced that this year’s summit will be held July 25th through July 28th during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA.  Equality Forum 2016 will bring together elected officials, newsmakers and LGBT experts for groundbreaking panel discussions on the state and future of the LGBT movement, as well as two historic marker dedications and award ceremonies. 

LGBT History Month, coordinated by the Equality Forum, celebrates the achievements of 31 national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) icons.  Each day in October, a new LGBT icon is featured with a video, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources for use in classrooms, educational institutions, community groups and other venues throughout the country.  A downloadable database of previous LGBT History Month Icons dating back to 2006, as well as additional information, is available at:

The 2016 LGBT History Month Icons announced today by the Equality Forum who relate directly to the Democratic National Convention and/or Democratic politics are described below:

Virginia Apuzzo            
A former nun, Apuzzo was the founding director of the then-named National Gay Task Force and played a leading role in the inclusion of the first gay and lesbian plank in the 1976 Democratic National Convention platform.   

Brian Bond                     
Founding executive director of the then-named Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Bond helped grow the visibility and size of the organization that trains and campaigns for out LGBT candidates for public office.  After leaving the Victory Fund, Bond then became Deputy Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement during President Obama’s Administration.  He is currently the Deputy CEO for Public Engagement for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Midge Costanza            
Constanza was named by President Jimmy Carter as Assistant to the President for Public Liaison, nicknamed “the President’s window to the nation.”  In that role, Constanza invited fourteen gay and lesbian leaders to the White House in March 1977 at the height of Anita Bryant’s homophobic campaigns.

Jeanne Cordova                       
In the 1980s, Cordova helped found the Gay and Lesbian Caucus of the Democratic Party and served as one of thirty open lesbian delegates to the 1980 Democratic National Convention.

Andrew Tobias             
For the past 17 years, Tobias has been Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. He is the party’s first openly gay treasurer.     

Jean O’Leary                 
O’Leary was founder of the Lesbian Feminist Liberation, one of the first lesbian activist groups in the women’s movement, co-director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and co-founder of National Coming Out Day.  In 1977 O’Leary helped organize the first meeting of gay rights activists in the White House and became the first openly gay personal appointed to a presidential commission, the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year.

Bruce Voeller                
Voeller was a biologist, AIDS Researcher, and co-founder of the then-named National Gay Task Force.  In this role, in 1977 Voeller helped to organize the first-ever meeting between the Carter White House and more than a dozen gay and lesbian leaders.

A full list of this year’s 31 LGBT History Month Icons can be viewed at:


About the Equality Forum

Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit. 

Equality Forum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to advance national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights through education.  For more information on the Equality Forum, please visit:


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