Plenary on LGBTQ Politics
Urvashi Vaid is an attorney and organizer whose leadership in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and social justice movements spans legal, advocacy, philanthropic, and grassroots organizations. Vaid is CEO of Vaid Group LLC, which works with social justice innovators, movements and organizations to address structural inequalities based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, gender and economic status.
From 2011-2015, Vaid was Senior Fellow and Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. Prior to joining Columbia, Vaid was Senior Fellow at the City University of New York Graduate Center. From 2005-2010, Vaid was Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, a global funder of LGBT human rights and great ape conservation. She served as Deputy Director of the Governance and Civil Society Unit of the Ford Foundation from 2001-2005. Over a ten year period, Vaid worked at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now the LGBTQ Task Force), serving as its Executive Director and Director of its think tank, the Policy Institute. As staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Vaid initiated the group’s work on HIV/AIDS in prisons.
Vaid is the author of Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics (2012); and Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Lesbian and Gay Liberation (1996). She co-edited, with John D’Emilio and William Turner, an anthology titled Creating Change: Public Policy, Sexuality and Civil Rights (2000).
She is founder and Board member of LPAC, the lesbian SuperPAC; a co-founder of the Creating Change Conference; Board member of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and a former Board member of the Gill Foundation, a leading funder of LGBT rights in the US. Vaid is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Vassar College.