Don Gorton is a Massachusetts attorney who served as a state tax judge from 1997 to 2008.
Gorton has been an advocate for LGBT equality in Boston for over 25 years. He is perhaps best known as the longtime co-chair of the Governor's Task Force on Hate Crime, to which he was appointed by then-Governor William Weld. The task force was given permanent status by former Governor Paul Cellucci in 1998. Gorton led the task force from 1991 until the body was disbanded by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in 2003. He led the drafting of regulations to implement the Hate Crimes Reporting Act of 1990, and spearheaded civil rights awareness activities for the Executive Office of Public Safety.
Gorton also led the Greater Boston Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance (later the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts) from 1988 to 1994, and has led the Anti-Violence Project of Massachusetts since 1994. Over the years he has played a leading role in passage of the Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Law and the Hate Crimes Penalties Act amendments of 1996. In the 21st century, he has concentrated on anti-bullying advocacy. In addition to co-authoring an anti-bullying best practices guide Gorton played a leading role in the over 50 organizations coalition that secured passage of comprehensive anti-bullying legislation in Massachusetts in 2010.
Since 2008, he has been active in the youth-led LGBT equality movement dubbed by the New York Times as "Stonewall 2.0." He is an officer of Join the Impact MA and an officer of and regular contributor to the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide. Gorton was elected Grand Marshal of the Boston LGBT Pride Parade in the 40th anniversary year of 2010, under the banner of "From Riots to Rights: 40 Years of Progress." He has spoken out forcefully against the practice of "reparative therapy," which purports to turn gays into straights. Condemned by every leading medical and mental health professional association in the US, "reparative therapy," and the variant "praying away the gay," have been linked to depression and suicide among the LGBT people subjected to it. In 2011, Gorton authored a research study of hate crimes against the transgender community, focusing on improved law enforcement responsiveness to this underreported phenomenon.
Gorton graduated from Boston University in 1982 and Harvard Law in 1985. While attending Boston University, he was involved in progressive student politics, serving as treasurer and later president of the College of Liberal Arts Forum, the elected student government representing 5,000 undergraduates. In law school and as a young lawyer, Gorton advocated for legal aid to the poor and joined the American Bar Association Death Penalty Project, challenging a death sentence in the Alabama State courts.
- Direct from the Field: A Guide to Bullying Prevention (co-author with Laura Parker-Roerden and David Rudewick), published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in 2008.
- "The Origins of Anti-Sodomy Laws, Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review 10 (1998).
- "Gay Rights in the Clash of Civilizations" (Essay), The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide (ISSN 1532-1118) Vol. 9, Iss. 1 (2002-01-01)
- "Timing of Henry VIII's sodomy law matters", The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide (ISSN 1532-1118)Vol. 11, Iss. 1 (2004-01-01)
- "What really happened at the Stonewall Inn?", The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide (ISSN 1532-1118), Vol. 11, Iss. 6 (2004-11-01)
- "A Literature of Hope for GLBT Youth," The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide Vol. 12, Iss. 6 (2005-11-01)
- "The Hate Crime", The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide (ISSN 1532-1118) Vol. 13, Iss. 3 (2006-05-01)
- "Why Stonewall Matters After Forty Years," The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide Vol. 16, Iss. 4 (2009-07-01)
- "Maurice and Gay Liberation," The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide Vol. 16, Iss. 6 (2009-11-01)
- "Anti-Transgender Hate Crimes: The Challenge for Law Enforcement," The Anti-Violence Project of Massachusetts 2011
- "How 'It Gets Better' Is Making It Better," The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide Vol. 18 Iss. 5 (2011-9-1)
- Crime Prevention & Personal Safety, retrieved 2008-08-21
- Levin, J. and McDevitt, J., Hate Crimes Revisited: America's War Against Those Who Are Different (Westview Press, 2002). The Executive Order is available at http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/ExecOrders/eo401.pdf
- National Crime Prevention Council, http://www.ncpc.org/topics/hate-bias/strategies/strategy-educating-the-public-about-hate-crimes
- Archives of the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts available at http://www.lib.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m91find.htm
- Political writings archived at http://www.jointheimpactma.com
- "Boston Pride's Grand Marshals Have Been Chosen," Bay Windows May 5, 2010 http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=blog&sc2=news&sc3=&id=105375
- "Anti-Transgender Violence: The Challenge for Law Enforcement," The Anti-Violence Project of Massachusetts 2011 http://jointheimpactma.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Victimization-Study-Report.pdf