Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa
b. May 7, 1960
“I can imagine no higher honor and privilege than to serve my country.”
David Huebner is the United States ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. He is the third openly gay ambassador in United States history.
A native of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Huebner graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he studied at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He earned a J.D. from Yale Law School. While at Yale, he served as a special assistant to the Hon. Koji Kakizawa, the former Japanese foreign minister.
Licensed to practice in three United States jurisdictions as well as England and Wales, Huebner was chairman of Coudert Brothers, an international law firm. He was later hired as a partner in the Shanghai office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, where he led the firm’s Chinese operations and its International Disputes practice. He has taught courses on intellectual property and international arbitration at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
President Obama nominated Huebner as an ambassador on October 8, 2009. With his partner by his side, Huebner was sworn in by Vice President Biden, who told the newly confirmed Huebner, “You’ve lived the American dream. I can think of nobody better to represent our nation to the people of New Zealand and Samoa than you.”
Huebner has a long record of public service. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger selected him to chair California's Law Review Commission. Huebner served as president of the Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission. He was a founding board member and chief counsel for GLAAD.
When not on diplomatic assignment, Huebner and his partner of more than 20 years, psychiatrist Duane McWaine, live in Los Angeles.
b. May 8, 1963
"We know that students learn best in a school where they feel truly safe. I am here to make that happen for more kids."
A monumental leader and crusader, Kevin Jennings has dedicated his career to ensuring safe schools for all students. In 1990, he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the nation's first organization combating discrimination against GLBT students. Jennings currently serves as the assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education.
The youngest of five children, Jennings experienced a childhood deeply rooted in conservative ideology. Poor and in a continual state of transition, his family moved so often that Jennings attended 11 schools in four states. While he displayed impressive academic aptitude, he suffered daily from mental and physical abuse by classmates. “School was a place I both loved and hated,” recalls Jennings. “I loved it because I loved learning. I hated it because I was targeted at a pretty young age for bullying and harassment.”
In 1985, Jennings earned a bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Harvard University, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. Later, he earned master's degrees from both Columbia University and New York University.
Following his graduation from Harvard, Jennings pursued a career in education. In 1988, while he was a history teacher at a Massachusetts high school, Jennings spearheaded the country's first Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), a coalition of students fighting against harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Two years later, Jennings expanded the movement to encompass parents, teachers and community members, creating GLSEN. Beginning as a grassroots volunteers group, GLSEN has developed into a national organization with more than 40 chapters and over 4,500 schools nationwide.
As co-chair of the Education Committee of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, Jennings challenged the Massachusetts State Board of Education to adopt new policies protecting GLBT students. In 1993, his efforts led to the country's first state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public schools.
Named by Newsweek one of the top 100 people likely to make a difference in the 21st century, Jennings has authored six books and received a Lambda Literary Award for "Telling Tales Out of School." He co-wrote and produced the documentary "Out of the Past," which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.
"The process of change is like a relay race," says Jennings. "My job is to ensure that we're further ahead in the race and, like a good relay team member, ready to pass that baton to the next person with a lead toward the end goal of a safe school for every child.”
b. September 29, 1959
"What's important is that transgender people are respected as members of the community—that they are safe from discrimination and violence and disrespect."
Mara Keisling is a leading transgender activist. She is the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the largest transgender rights organization.
One of seven siblings, Keisling grew up as Mark in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His father was the governor’s chief of staff. Mark was a reticent boy. "During junior high, I was shy to the point where I feared giving a book report in front of the class," Keisling says.
Keisling became more extroverted after joining the school's Model U.N. Club, where he found his calling in the political arena. He graduated from Penn State, and pursued post-graduate work in American Government at Harvard University.
In the 1990's, after Keisling told friends and family he'd felt like a woman since childhood, he began his transition to Mara. Keisling soon turned to activism after seeing the discrimination transgender people face. Keisling co-chaired the Pennsylvania Gender Rights Coalition and served on the steering committee of the Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition.
In 2003, recognizing the need for a cohesive voice in Washington for transgender people, Mara Keisling founded the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), a social justice organization dedicated to advancing equality through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.
Keisling and NCTE were among the leaders of UnitedENDA, a coalition of more than 400 GLBT organizations lobbying for a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Keisling has over 25 years of professional experience in social marketing and opinion research. In 2005, Harvard University named Keisling Outstanding LGBT Person of the Year.
b. May 9, 1943
d. May 10, 2000
"I really believe that activism is therapeutic."
Kiyoshi Kuromiya was a Gay Pioneer and an early HIV/AIDS expert.
Kuromiya was born in a Japanese internment camp in rural Wyoming during World War II. He became active in the civil rights and antiwar movements as a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kuromiya participated with Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and other Gay Pioneers in the first organized gay and lesbian civil rights demonstrations. These "Annual Reminders," held at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell each Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969, laid the groundwork for the Stonewall Riots and the GLBT civil rights movement.
In 1970, Kuromiya served as an openly gay delegate to the Black Panthers convention, where the organization endorsed the GLBT liberation struggle. He assisted Buckminster Fuller in writing "Critical Path" (1981), an influential book about technology and its potential to improve the world.
Diagnosed with AIDS in 1989, Kuromiya became a self-taught expert on the disease, operating under the mantra "information is power." He founded the Critical Path Project, which provided resources to people living with HIV and AIDS, including a newsletter, a library and a 24-hour phone line. Around the same time, Kuromiya helped found ACT UP Philadelphia, a pioneering organization that helped bring AIDS to the national consciousness. He worked with many AIDS organizations, including We the People Living with AIDS/HIV.
In addition to his service-oriented work and street-level advocacy, Kuromiya was involved in impact litigation, including a successful challenge to the Communications Decency Act, which criminalized the circulation of "patently offensive" sexual material. He was the lead plaintiff in a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of patients seeking permission to use medical marijuana.
Kuromiya was a nationally ranked Scrabble player. He died at 57 from AIDS-related complications.
Sharon J. Lubinski
b. July 11, 1952
"Hopefully my coming out will dispel any myths that you can’t be gay and in uniform."
In 2010, Sharon J. Lubinski became the nation’s first openly gay United States Marshal. She is the first female to hold this post in Minnesota.
A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Lubinski received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1974 and a master’s degree from Hamline University in 1992. She has served 32 years in law enforcement, including 12 years of command experience as precinct commander of downtown Minneapolis and deputy chief of patrol. From 2006 to 2010, Lubinski managed the Minneapolis Police Department’s daily operations as assistant chief of police.
In 2009, Senator Amy Klobuchar recommended Lubinski to the post of United States Marshal for the District of Minnesota stating, “Her mix of experience managing a large, urban police department and working in a rural sheriff’s office makes her uniquely qualified to serve in this role.” United States Marshals are responsible for running the enforcement arm of the federal courts. They protect court officers, apprehend fugitives, transport federal prisoners and protect federal witnesses.
After nominating Lubinski, President Obama stated, “She has dedicated her career to the noble cause of protecting her fellow Americans. She has displayed exceptional courage in the pursuit of justice, and I am honored to nominate her today to continue her selfless work as a U.S. Marshal for the District of Minnesota."
Lubinski is a member of the community faculty at the Metropolitan State University School of Criminal Justice and is a doctoral candidate in Public Administration at Hamline University.
b. July 14, 1960
"As for being out in Hollywood—I never thought about it. I never hid who I was."
Jane Lynch is an award-winning theater, film and television actress. In 2010, she shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Comedy Ensemble for the hit television series “Glee.” She also received a Golden Globe nomination and won an Emmy for her role on the show.
Lynch grew up in Dolton, Illinois, outside Chicago. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Illinois State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Theater from Cornell.
Lynch began her career on stage with the Second City comedy troupe, followed by a stint playing Carol Brady in the touring company of "The Real Live Brady Bunch." In 1998, Lynch wrote and starred in "Oh Sister, My Sister." Six years later, Lynch’s play helped launch the Lesbians in Theater program at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
After playing bit parts and acting in commercials, Lynch caught the attention of film director Christopher Guest, who spotted her in a Frosted Flakes commercial and cast her in "Best in Show." Lynch’s turn as a lesbian dog handler in the movie was her breakout role. She has appeared in more than 50 films, including "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Julie and Julia," "Alvin and the Chipmunks," "Talladega Nights" and "The Fugitive."
On television, Lynch guest starred on dozens of series, including "Judging Amy," "The West Wing," "Arrested Development" and "Boston Legal." She played recurring characters on "The L Word," "Party Down," "Two and a Half Men" and "Criminal Minds."
As Sue Sylvester, the "Glee" cheerleading coach described as "pure evil," Lynch is receiving rave reviews. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Lynch alone makes 'Glee' worth watching."
In 2005, Jane Lynch was named one of the "10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz" by the Professional Organization of Women in Entertainment Reaching Up (POWER UP). In 2010, Outfest, the Los Angeles gay and lesbian film festival, honored Lynch with the 14th annual Achievement Award for her contributions to LGBT film and media.
In 2010, Lynch married her long-term partner, Dr. Lara Embry, in a Massachusetts ceremony.
b. July 21, 1953
"If we don’t know our history we’re going to become forgotten."
Patsy Lynch is a trailblazing photographer whose work documenting several decades of the GLBT civil rights struggle has provided visibility to the movement and inspired activists worldwide.
A native of Washington, D.C., Lynch received her Bachelor of Arts from Elon University, where she started the college newspaper. She earned two master's degrees from Gallaudet University.
Working for both The Advocate and the UPI news agency in the 1970's and 1980's, Lynch was the first openly gay journalist with a White House credential. She was a founding member of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Through her lens, Lynch chronicled numerous milestones in the GLBT civil rights struggle. She was one of four official photographers at the 1979 Lesbian and Gay March on Washington. She captured lasting images of the AIDS activism movement, including a 1987 protest at the White House and a 1988 die-in organized by ACT UP in Washington.
Lynch served as the photographer for the "Community Pioneers" exhibit of Washington residents who contributed to the struggle for equality. "We need to let people know that we are here, and we’re not going away," Lynch said.
In 1990, the National Gay Press Association named Lynch Photographer of the Year. In 2006, she received a Distinguished Service Award from the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance. The following year, she received the Community Pioneer award from the Rainbow History Project. Recently, Lynch has worked on assignment for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she documented Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A resident of the Washington area, Lynch is also a skilled sports photographer, landscape photographer and portrait artist.