Advancing LGBT Civil Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 31, 2016

CONTACT: Kristofer Eisenla, LUNA+EISENLA media | 202-670-5747 (mobile)


2016 Democratic National Convention

Nation’s Premier LGBT Civil Rights Summit Announces Plans for 2016 Democratic National Convention

Ed Rendell, Chair, 2016 Democratic National Convention, Salutes Gathering of National Elected Officials, Newsmakers and Experts to Discuss LGBT Movement

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Against the backdrop of a major, national audience, Equality Forum, the nation’s oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights summit, announced plans today for this year’s summit to 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. 

“The stakes couldn’t be higher this election season for LGBT equality and the Equality Forum gives us a front-row seat into the road ahead,” said Ed Rendell, Chair, 2016 Democratic National Convention.  “For four days in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention, the Equality Forum’s convening of the best and brightest minds on the future of the LGBT movement is not to be missed.” Rendell is also the former Governor of Pennsylvania and previous Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

While marriage equality was achieved with the monumental Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges and other LGBT advancements, more challenges lay ahead for the future of the movement and the community, including enacting state and federal workplace equal protection laws, advancing transgender equality, eliminating reparative therapy, defeating so-called “religious exemption statutes”, thwarting bullying, promoting elder quality of life and providing the LGBT community’s place at the table. Equality Forum 2016 will explore these issues through the lens of the 2016 presidential election bringing together history makers, legal scholars and political leaders for thought-provoking panel conversations.

The LGBT civil rights movement is at a pivotal moment having achieved marriage equality with the monumental Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges,” said Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum’s Founder and Executive Director“However, the LGBT community continues to face mounting challenges threatening to roll back advancements we’ve made in achieving equality.  Equality Forum 2016 will bring together the top-minds, leading experts and newsmakers to discuss what the road ahead will look like for LGBT equality in the shadows of perhaps the most consequential presidential election in a lifetime.”

From July 25th through July 28th, 2016, Equality Forum 2016 will feature four stellar panels focusing on areas significant to continued progress for the LGBT movement, including:

·       National Legal Panel

·       National Politics Panel

·       Elected Officials Panel

·       Future of the Movement Panel

These panels are designed to examine the LGBT movement through the lens of the 2016 presidential election, and will bring together history makers, legal scholars and political leaders for thought-provoking conversations.

A full list of confirmed speakers and details on media RSVP’s will be announced in June.

Historic Marker Dedication

Equality Forum 2016 will also include the dedication of two movement important historic markers.

The Barbara Gittings Historic Marker recognizes the mother of the LGBT civil rights movement and where she resided in the 1960s with her partner Kay Lahusen.

The Philadelphia Conference Historic Marker, located at the Friends Meetinghouse designates where 300 activists from around the country met to organize the 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Awards Presentation

In addition, Equality Forum 2016 will present two prestigious awards to members and allies of the LGBT community who fought for and helped advance equality.

Jim Obergefell will present the Frank Kameny Award, named for the father of the LGBT civil rights movement.  The award recipients will be two high ranking and openly gay federal government employees, representing President Obama’s record setting number of appointments of openly LGBT federal employees.

The 21st Annual International Role Model Award is the nation’s longest standing award to activists and straight allies who have advanced LGBT civil rights. Previous recipients of the award include such notables as Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, CA Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Supreme Court Plaintiff Edie Windsor, Judy Shepard, David Boies and Ted Olson, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), and tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

Award event special guests and recipients will be announced in June.


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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