iOS app Android app

Rea Carey
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is one of the most prominent leaders in the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement. Carey, who came to the Task Force in 2004 as deputy executive director, has served as executive director since 2008. Through her leadership she has advanced a vision of fairness and justice for LGBT people and their families that is broad, inclusive and unabashedly progressive.

Some of the Task Force's successes during Carey's tenure include being a key player in passage of the LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes prevention law; the defeat of multiple anti-LGBT ballot measures across the country; the creation and implementation of the New Beginning Initiative coalition, which secures federal administrative policy changes to improve the lives of LGBT people and their families; and the release of the largest-ever study on transgender discrimination in the U.S.

Under her guidance the Task Force has also launched an Online Academy bolstering grassroots power by providing electronic access to its signature training programs; expanded its faith work through the Institute for Welcoming Resources, increasing the number of welcoming and affirming congregations to well over 4,000; and played a vital role in getting the U.S. Census Bureau to report married same-sex couples in the 2010 census. The Task Force also hosts the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. It is the largest convening of LGBT activists and supporters in the country and serves as a driving force for strategy and organizing on LGBT issues.

Prior to coming to the Task Force, Carey worked extensively in HIV/AIDS prevention and in the LGBT community as one of the co-founders of Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence and the founding executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. She has also served as an advisor to major donors and foundations and has served on the advisory boards for such wide-ranging publications as Teen People magazine and the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. Carey earned her master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Entries by Rea Carey

Indiana-Style Attacks Reveal Everything Old Is New Again

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 4:46 PM

It would be easy to think that Indiana's recent discrimination law, under the guise of "religious freedom," was just about the opponents of equality's obsession with the LGBTQ community.

But the law in question went much further than an attack on LGBTQ people and their families. It represented an...

Read Post

Protections for LGBT Survivors of Violence

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 8:47 PM

This October, the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will implement the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is our nation's main response to domestic and sexual violence. This law, passed in February and signed by President Obama in March, explicitly addresses lesbian, gay, bisexual and...

Read Post

In the Spirit of King and Rustin, the Fight for Jobs and Freedom Continues

(3) Comments | Posted August 22, 2013 | 9:21 AM

Fifty years ago, a broad coalition of people from across the United States were preparing to march on our nation's capital for jobs and freedom. The march would both make history and hurry history for the millions hungry for jobs, equality and freedom.

On that day, Dr. King would...

Read Post

After Prop 8 Decision, Progressives Must Think Broadly, Boldly About Ballot Measures

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 4:08 PM

Now that California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage has fallen, many supporters of LGBT equality are thinking about our next strategic steps: With so many loving families still living in states with marriage bans, what will it take to overturn bans that were passed by ballot measure? And how...

Read Post

Proudly Advocating for Love and Freedom

(1) Comments | Posted June 14, 2013 | 8:57 PM

Back in March, on a cold but beautifully sunny morning, we gathered with thousands of others in front of the Supreme Court. The mood was high. At times it felt more like a street celebration than a political demonstration. People squeezed onto the steps, crowded the sidewalks, and spilled onto...

Read Post

Unifying Families With Immigration Reform

(13) Comments | Posted April 11, 2013 | 9:00 AM

As we continue to wait for the introduction of legislation to overhaul and fix our broken immigration system, one of the yardsticks by which we will measure its success is whether it is able to address the devastating separations of families allowed under the current system.

The story of...

Read Post

Why LGBT Equality Means Equality for All

(7) Comments | Posted January 31, 2013 | 2:42 PM

In his second inaugural address, President Obama made history for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement, in more ways than one. As he said so eloquently of our struggle for equal rights: "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else...

Read Post

For Love and Country: LGBT Americans and Immigration Rights

(3) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 11:31 AM

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights are often defined as consisting of a handful of issues, marriage equality the foremost among them. But as important as the right to marry the people we love is, LGBT equality is about far more than that. LGBT Americans reflect the full diversity...

Read Post

Marching Together, Marching as One: The Reality of Coalition and Collaboration Between the LGBT Community and Communities of Color

(16) Comments | Posted June 18, 2012 | 12:19 PM

In the past month, we have seen milestone after milestone in the march toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. But there is a key element of this progress that we should shine a light on. What for many seemed like a red light at the intersection of race,...

Read Post

LGBT Workplace Discrimination: Out of Work for Being Out at Work?

(40) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 11:35 AM

For those who share a vision for a country in which all LGBT Americans can show up at work each day with the security of knowing that they cannot be fired simply for who they are or whom they love, the last month has been marked by great disappointment and...

Read Post

We've Got to Make This Journey Together

(8) Comments | Posted January 22, 2012 | 12:24 PM

On April 25, 2004, I stood with 1 million other pro-choice supporters on the National Mall for the historic March for Women's Lives. Women and men, some with children, some without, boarded buses, trains, and planes from every corner of the country, and everywhere in between, to make the trek...

Read Post

Voices Rising Across America

(3) Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 1:17 AM

When you walk through Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street's main encampment, you can't help but see our country. And it is a country that is angry and fed up, a country buckling under overwhelming economic disparity.

Occupy Wall Street is both a protest and a wake-up call. A wake-up call...

Read Post

Our Moral Imperative

(12) Comments | Posted June 17, 2009 | 6:00 PM

"Equality is a moral imperative."

Those words could have come from that diverse and brave group who made their stand at the Stonewall Inn that Friday night in June 1969, a stand for dignity and equality.

But they didn't.

Or these words: We must "build an America...

Read Post