Kate Kendell Steps Down After 22 Years Heading NCLR

Karen Ocamb reports at the Los Angeles Blade:

LGBT politicos nationwide were struck by the March 15 announcement that National Center for Lesbian Rights executive director Kate Kendell was stepping down after more than 22 years of service advancing social and economic justice through the lens of LGBT civil rights.

“Kate literally changed the world. Her leadership in advancing the rights of LGBT people from being criminals to being able to marry has transformed the lives of millions of people. She always pushed the envelope and was a constant voice for our movement to embrace our communities’ diversity, partner with others and embrace a progressive agenda,” says Geoff Kors, Palm Springs City Councilmember, former Equality California Executive Director, and Kendell’s “brother from another mother.” “She has an ability to connect with people on our shared humanity and move them to do the right thing even when it is politically challenging.”

“Kate Kendell’s charisma, passion and vision have resulted in NCLR becoming one of the most creative and effective advocacy organizations in this country. Every LGBTQ person has benefitted because of her incredible leadership,” said Donna Hitchens, the retired San Francisco Superior Court judge who founded NCLR in 1977.

  • kat

    Well done. Kate. Thanks for all you’ve done for so many years.

  • Corey D Clawson

    In addition to all of her hard work, she’s an incredibly generous person in my experience. Visiting a student group in Utah she offered tons of perspective on relationships w/religious family, fighting for our rights, and living the best possible life. In that one night, she brought so much to dozens of young lives.

  • HZ81

    Thank you, Kate!

  • fuow

    Kate has done more for my rights as a gay man in her sleep, on vacation, than the HRC has ever done or will ever do.
    Without her, I sincerely doubt we’d even have marriage equality.

    • Tulle Christensen

      Happy we agree 😉

      • fuow

        You should see some of the idiot gays around here trying to defend the HRC. My favorite was being told they weren’t working for a country hic like me, but playing with the big boys, the intelligent ones.
        Literally.
        Really made the case for the HRC. Sure ‘nuf did.
        Meanwhile you can go to the NCLR and pull their financials – you’ll see what they spend our donations on: Equal rights for all, not Armani suits for some.

        • shellback

          I like you more and more every day.

          • fuow

            Ditto!

        • LesbianTippingHabits


          And HRC also blew it – majorly – on the other HRC.

          Sad !

    • Kate Kendall is amazing. The NCLR is amazing. In the late 80s I did an internship with the NCLR back when they were named the Lesbian Rights Project. They have always been fantastic.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        Yup, I’ve worked in varying capacities for almost every national queer rights advocacy group in the US, and Kate and NCLR were heads and shoulders above the rest — no one else even came close.

      • ewleve

        Wow, where was the office? I live in an apartment at 18th and Castro and i believe one of our rooms was the office for NCLR. There was also an office for the International LGBT Human RIghts Commission in the early 90’s and the KP Hotline in the Early 80’s.

        • I don’t recall precisely, but somewhere South of Market. This was 1989 or so, but my unpaid internship involved working remotely so I only went into the office twice. Roberta Achtenberg was the executive director back then.

          (I live a block from you at 19th and Castro.)

          • ewleve

            Howdy neighbor!

    • band

      Funny you should mention “on vacation.”

  • sfbob

    Thank you Kate!

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Kate is an amazing person! She is also lots of fun and I’ve had the pleasure of having a few drinks with her. Her work over these past decades has been truly amazing and she will surely be missed.

  • JWC

    A champion For Gay rights Thank you Kate Kendell

  • SilasMarner

    Thank you Kate for your service to our whole community. Great blessings for your future.

  • witch

    Thank you Kate, you have made your mark in history and set the bar for the future

  • R W C

    Smarts well played! Thank you, ma’am.

  • RichW

    Kate has been a terrifically effective leader in the right for equality. She has also clearly mentored people to step up to LGBT leadership positions … hmmm, mentoring the next generation of leaders – that’s something I wish the Democratic party leaders would have done over the last 20+ years. Congratulations, Kate, on your “retirement” from the NCLR, and thank you for serving our entire community. I can hardly wait to see what’s in the next chapter of your life.

  • LesbianTippingHabits


    Thanks so much to Kate Kendell for so many years of service to the LGBTQ community.

    Of course, the real question is, how does she tip? Thank you again.

  • BearEyes

    Thank you for fighting the good fight
    Much appreciated

  • JCF

    Muchas gracias para todos! Mwah!