Leaders of Change

From fighting for marriage equality to furthering the education of youth, these are only a few of the people who are furthering social and legal justice for the LGBT community through outstanding leadership of nonprofit organizations.

BY Advocate.com Editors

August 13 2013 5:00 AM ET


Kevin M. Cathcart

Executive Director, Lambda Legal

Since 1992, Kevin M. Cathcart has served as executive director of Lambda Legal, one of the nation’s leading nonprofits dedicated to equality litigation. Under his leadership, the organization has helped achieve historic victories in the fight for LGBTQ rights, including its argument before the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which established the right to sexual intimacy for gay Americans.

In recent years Cathcart has expanded Lambda Legal’s work, spearheading the Foster Care Initiative for lesbian and gay youth, as well as the Marriage Project and Transgender Rights Project. While the June Supreme Court decisions striking down Proposition 8 and section 3 of  DOMA were “just cause for celebration,” he says, “that exuberance must be tempered with the hard reality of the discrimination we still face.”

“The end of DOMA did not mean the end of the marriage battle, and marriage equality is only one aspect of Lambda Legal's work for equality,” says Cathcart. “For example, 37 states still bar same-sex couples from marriage. That's why, within days of the Supreme Court decisions, Lambda Legal took action. We urged immediate court action in New Jersey where we've been fighting for nearly a decade, and our case in Illinois moved forward too. In the South, not a single state allows or respects marriages of same-sex couples — so Lambda Legal and the ACLU announced plans to soon file a federal lawsuit in Virginia. And just this week we launched a new mobile-friendly Know Your Rights – Transgender resource. From employment discrimination to issues relating to the transgender community and the interests of LGBT youth and seniors, we continue to fight for all LGBT people and people with HIV."

Apart from taking advantages of programs like Know Your Rights, anyone can support Lambda Legal by signing up to become a community volunteer at LambdaLegal.org. Lawyers can also contribute research and counsel by registering with its Cooperating Attorneys Network.

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