Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
Lee has a long history of non-profit management, primarily in… See full bio.
The cyberbullies also tormented him on Facebook at the same time. One of his classmates created a fake profile with a girl’s name, which was then used by several students to post derogatory remarks directed at K. While K is not gay, this was a homophobic attack, with comments such as “I never said anything to you except called you a fag cuz you obviously made a fake girl facebook to have dudes hit on you cuz your gay.”
A month later, another student posted on their own Facebook page “Ok, ‘K’ says only 20 people hate him, and I’m sure there’s more than that so like this if you do.” Almost 50 people, mostly classmates, “liked” the post.
GLAD won an important victory recently on K’s behalf after the school repeatedly failed to address this vicious and targeted cyberbullying campaign.
When K’s father learned about the cyberbullying, he immediately placed calls and sent emails to the school’s vice principal. But school officials offered no real response, saying only that they had talked to the student who had created the fake Facebook profile. Things only escalated from there, with more Facebook and Formspring posts directed at K. Rather than deal with the bullies, the vice principal forced K to meet alone with one of his tormentors in a closed room for 30 minutes.
K’s father continued to ask school officials to create a plan to deal with the bullies and protect his son. But the school repeatedly failed to respond. School officials and the school board refused to acknowledge what was happening as bullying.
GLAD, along with co-counsel Neil Jacobs, MJ Edwards and Brian Boyle of WilmerHale, pursued the family’s case to the Board of Education. In response to the school district’s motion, the hearing officer assigned to the case dismissed the claim, agreeing with the school district’s argument that the Board had no jurisdiction to hear this case. However, with GLAD and WilmerHale’s representation, the family appealed to the Board of Education, which agreed unanimously with GLAD’s position that the inability to pursue a case like this would cut the legs out from under the anti-bullying statute.
This win is especially important as it upholds the efficacy of New Hampshire’s anti-bullying statute. “If the Board of Education had dismissed this case, as the school and the school board asked them to do, it would have essentially rendered the state’s anti-bullying law meaningless,” says GLAD Staff Attorney Janson Wu. “Anti-bullying laws can’t do what they’re supposed to do — protect students — if they can’t be enforced.”
Expert Reviews of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
Evidence of Impact Summary:Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) works to bring about LGBT equality through strategic civil rights litigation. GLAD’s case work has brought about wins for military personnel, transgender youth, LGBT families, and more. Additionally, their work has made huge strides in the marriage equality arena including striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in several courts. The organization also works outside of the courtroom through organizational support, messaging, and training LGBT candidates. GLAD works to change public perception as well. While they have a regional focus, their impact has been national.
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Organization Strengths Summary:Experts agree that GLAD is staffed by a dedicated and extremely knowledgeable staff of attorneys, researchers, and communicators. This can be seen in their strategic approach to litigation; choosing cases carefully to advance their work. The organization also has had strong and stable executive leadership throughout the years that have helped to keep the organization thriving. Another strength is GLAD’s longstanding reputation as an impactful organization.
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Areas for Improvement Summary:Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) may want to be more mindful of their collaborations and partnerships. One expert suggests that their work in the marriage equality movement will merit some particular care in this area. GLAD could also improve by diversifying and further developing their resources. Experts would also like to see GLAD expand their work to a national scale.
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Expert Comments: Evidence of Impact
|They have a very smart and strategic litigation docket. They have achieved significant recent legal wins that set precedent nationally. They also have deep and unique legal tools on transgender issues.|
|GLAD does a terrific job of filing high-impact, strategic lawsuits around relationship recognition and other issues. Beyond that, they provide messaging and other support to the state-level organizations that they partner with. This is a winning combination, because these lawsuits only win when the voters also support these legal decisions.|
|They have won cases striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional in several courts. They were the law firm that won court cases confirming the right to marry in Massachusetts and Connecticut.|
|They have done great work on marriage equality!|
|Their impact can be seen in the IRS case clarifying deductibility of transition-related care.|
|Their impact can be seen in their Vermont Civil Union work, Massachusetts same-sex marriage cases, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) legal challenges.|
|GLAD is directly responsible for successful marriage equality campaigns both through litigation, legislation, and referenda across New England. It is successfully leading the efforts to hold DOMA unconstitutional in federal courts.|
|A key obstacle to relationship recognition for members of the LGBT community (and access to federal rights that accrue to that recognition) is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). GLAD has made important strides in challenging DOMA through the courts, not only winning an important case at the 1st Circuit, but rallying strong support of the business community (amicus brief) in the process. GLAD has brought strong leadership to the process in preparation for possible hearings before the Supreme Court, utilized a network of LGBT nonprofits in building support (Out & Equal, Lambda, HRC, e.g.), and constructed strong arguments to secure a favorable hearing.|
|GLAD won over 16 landmark cases for LGBT equality: same-gender marriage (CT, 2008), joint adoption by same-gender couples (ME, 2007), same-gender marriage (MA, 2006), visitation rights (VT, 2006), compensation to lesbian whose partner died on 9/11 (2004), same-gender marriage (MA, 2003), equal membership rates for all families at a municipal pool (CT, 2002), transgender student apparel (2000), marriage equality (VT, 1999), inclusion of LGBT families in school photo exhibit (MA, 1996), visitation rights (NH, 1994), LGBT adoption (MA, 1993), preserved LGBT Civil Rights Act (MA, 1989), honorable discharge for LGB service member (1986), constitutionality of MA LGBT civil rights bill (MA, 1983), and same-gender prom date (RI, 1980).|
Training for LGBT Candidates
|They pursue the goal of getting LGBT people elected to all levels of public office. They have a limited mission with direct measurable results. I especially like their recruitment and training programs for candidates.|
Regional Focus, National Reach
|Although GLAD characterizes itself as a regional organization, I actually think of it as a national organization because of its impact in taking cases to the US Supreme Court. GLAD brought an important lawsuit that produced a US Supreme Court ruling protecting the rights of people living with HIV under the Americans With Disabilities Act, and it will be in the Supreme Court this term, most likely, in its successful 1st Circuit challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. Any organization that is bringing major LGBT rights cases to the Supreme Court is having a national impact. GLAD also litigated the first case that actually achieved the right to marry for same-sex couples, in Massachusetts, after having litigated the Vermont case that resulted in the nation’s first Civil Union Act.|
Expert Comments: Organization Strengths
Dedicated & Knowledgeable Staff
|There is deep knowledge held by their well-rounded staff. They also have the ability to work well with other partners in the advocacy field and the ability to think strategically.|
|They have very talented attorneys who have carefully built on prior advances in rights for LGBT people to select states and issues that are likely to win in the courts. They have a long-term strategy.|
|They consistently have high-quality and dedicated professional staff. They’re working on individual rights as well as local, national representation of civil rights for LGBT people.|
|They have strong legal expertise and communications.|
|The attorneys seem to be extraordinarily dedicated, strategic, and sophisticated.|
|GLAD has a great depth of leadership as litigators, organizers, and managers.|
|They put out a newsletter twice a week which is the most informative summary of LGBT issues I have found in the community. They also take on a leadership role in training candidates.|
|GLAD has benefited from several long-term Executive Directors over the past three decades, and has had strong programmatic leadership. It has also carefully cultivated a dedicated circle of donors in New England that has supported steady growth of the staff. GLAD also communicates very effectively with donors through an excellent newsletter, and has achieved a high degree of visibility in the press in New England.|
|GLAD’s leadership is savvy and focused. The attorneys are brilliant! Their communications and marketing team coordinates research with other high-impact leaders, and operation is lean.|
|GLAD has a long history of leadership and strategic planning designed to make progress for the LGBT equality movement, using legal challenge as its primary mechanism for change.|
|Founded in 1978, GLAD’s current 32-person staff is a permanent fixture. Also, GLAD offers free legal information through a hotline, hundreds of publications, and workshops.|
Expert Comments: Areas for Improvement
|They would benefit from resource development and diversification. They could also use a better online presence.|
|It's not clear to me how much they engage other organizations in their decision-making about cases, it's hard to say. But given that their efforts have driven much of the marriage equality movement timing, it's important to be open to community sentiment.|
|They could improve their collaboration and partnerships.|
|GLAD's focus has been targeted in the northeast. They have an opportunity to expand influence and expertise more broadly across the country.|
|They should expand beyond New England, as well as expand into federal LGBT human rights.|
Lee has a long history of non-profit management, primarily in hospitals and healthcare. Before joining GLAD, she held a five-year position as Vice President of Health Services and the Executive Director for the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center under the umbrella of The Justice Resource Institute. While at JRI she oversaw a broad array of services to underserved populations, with a focus on adolescents and young adults, and special services for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Prior to JRI, Lee served as the chief operating officer and chief nursing officer at the Cambridge Health Alliance where she was responsible for clinical operations and support services, and oversaw a successful merger with Somerville Hospital in 1996. As a registered nurse, she served on the frontlines during the early years of the AIDS crisis. "AIDS has always affected a diverse population and it has a devastating impact," says Lee, who was the head nurse of Boston City Hospital's AIDS Clinics (1985-1989). "It's a significant piece of my life's work. I am seeing ways that society and the community are trying to distance themselves from AIDS - distance themselves from the pain and pretend that it is no longer a threat. But, we need to be constantly vigilant." Lee has an undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master's degree from Northeastern University, as well as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.