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, justice and freedom 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 an LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes prevention law and Violence Against Women’s Act; the defeat of multiple anti-LGBT ballot measures across the country; winning progress on marriage equality; 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 with a particular focus on LGBT, runaway, homeless and other at-risk youth, 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, Georgetown University Journal of Gender and the Law and the LGBTQ Policy Journal of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Carey serves on the board of directors for the Flamboyan Foundation, a private, family foundation focused on improving educational outcomes for children in public schools in Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Carey holds an undergraduate degree from Smith College and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Washington, DC with her partner and daughter.