Task Force celebrates 50 years of LGBTQ activism

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Kierra Johnson 2022
Kierra Johnson is the LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director

The National LGBTQ Task Force is the country’s oldest nationwide LGBTQ advocacy group since 1973. The Task Force will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023, honoring 50 years of advancing freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people.  ​​

Rea Carey and. Kierra Johnson on stage in 2019
Rea Carey left the National LGBTQ Task Force in February 2021. Kierra Johnson is now the Executive Director

This milestone year will recognize and celebrate the organizations history of driving progress within the LGBTQ community. In the early years they were lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a mental illness and advocating for AIDS funding. Later on they worked on a diverse group of campaigns. In recent years the Task Force worked on Queer the Census, Queer the Vote, trans rights, fighting for reproductive justice, and bringing an intersectional approach to the LGBTQ movement.  

The Task Force hopes the new year will serve as an opportunity to reimagine what queer activism can look like, starting with Creating Change, the advocacy group’s flagship conference for training and mobilizing queer organizers. 

“Our anniversary comes at a time when those in power threaten to undo our 50 years of progress — but we’re meeting these threats with more strength, unity and support than ever before,” Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force said. “We take an intersectional, proactive approach to our advocacy, underscoring our fundamental interconnectedness.”

The primary goal of the Creating Change Conference is to build the LGBTQ movement’s political power from the ground up. Since 1988, Creating Change has created opportunities for thousands of people to develop and hone their skills, celebrate victories, build community, and be inspired by visionaries of the Task Force’s LGBTQ movement and allied movements for justice and equality.

The 2023 conference will be held from Friday, Feb. 17 through Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Hilton Hotel Union Square in San Francisco, California. The theme is “The State of the Movement: Our Past. Our Present. Our Future.” 

Special guests will include transgender rights activist and star of FX’s POSE Angelica Ross; the most successful female contestant in Jeopardy! History, Amy Schneider; and gun violence prevention activist and LGBTQ rights advocate, X González. For more information including the full schedule and registration, click HERE.

The following month, the Task Force will continue to celebrate their 50th anniversary year with a Winter Party Festival. Between Wednesday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 7 in Miami Beach, Florida, the Task Force will host a week-long series of events benefiting the LGBTQ community locally and nationally under the theme “Live Free. Play Hard. Give Back.” 

To end the celebratory year, the Task Force will be hosting its premier annual celebration of South Florida’s LGBTQ community with a gala in October. This year, the gala is an opportunity for queer people and their supporters to celebrate 50 years of community, history, and work advancing equality for all LGBTQ people and their families. 

Other events related to the 50th anniversary year will be announced as they are confirmed.  

“The Task Force is everywhere because queer people are everywhere,” Johnson said. “As we look towards the next 50 years, we will evolve and expand our work to positively impact LGBTQ folks’ ability to thrive.”

Out In Jersey News Editor Chelsey Johnstone is an award-winning multimedia journalist and editor with a passion for honest reporting. A recent graduate of Montclair State University, Chelsey has spent over 5 years writing for publications such as The College VOICE, TrentonDaily, Unclear Magazine, Montclair Local News and more. Now, Chelsey is working to advance her journalist skills at Out in Jersey Magazine with the hope of positively impacting the world of reporting.