Urvashi Vaid

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Urvashi Vaid
Born (1958-10-08) 8 October 1958 (age 57)
New Delhi, India
Residence Manhattan, New York;
Provincetown, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Alma mater Vassar College;
Northeastern University School of Law
Known for Civil rights and anti-war activism
Notable work Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation (1996)
Partner(s) Kate Clinton

Urvashi Vaid (born 8 October 1958) is an Indian-American LGBT rights activist.


Vaid is CEO of The 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.

She is formerly the Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School (2011-2015). The project focused on the way tradition is used in movements for gender and sexuality to inform, enable or limit the movement.[1] Vaid spent ten years working in global philanthropic organizations, serving as Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation (2005-2010) and Deputy Director of Governance and Civil Society Unit of the Ford Foundation (2000-2005).

Vaid is the founder of LPAC, the first lesbian Super PAC, which was launched in July 2012. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Gill Foundation, which is dedicated to achieving equal opportunity for all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. She is founder of The Vaid Group, a consulting practice that advises individuals and organizations working to achieve social justice in a wide range of fields.[1]

For more than 10 years, Vaid worked in various capacities at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the oldest national LGBT civil rights organization; first as its media director, then as executive director, and as director of its Policy Institute Think-tank. From 1983-1986, Vaid was staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she initiated the organization’s work on HIV/AIDS in prisons.[1]

Political activism[edit]

Vaid was born in New Delhi, India, and moved to the United States at age eight with her family. At age 11, she participated in the anti-Vietnam war movement.[2] At Vassar College, she was active in a variety of political and social causes. She received a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston in 1983, where she founded the Boston Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, a non-partisan political organization that interviews and endorses candidates for political office and advocates for Boston's gay community.[2]

Vaid believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality will only occur when the larger institutions of society and the family are transformed to be more inclusive of racial, gender, economic difference.[3] Her book Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation (1995), which won a Stonewall Book Award in 1996,[4] makes an argument that mainstreaming sexuality into the status quo is not the same as transforming societal institutions to make them more equitable. Her recent book Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics (2012) critiques the racial and gender bias of mainstream LGBT movement and continues her argument that engagement with social justice is what will enable all parts of the LGBT community to realize equality and justice.

Vaid became Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 1989.[5] She pushed gay issues into the public eye through coordinated media manipulation and staged numerous protests on such subjects as abortion and the Persian Gulf War. Vaid left NGLTF in December 1992 and wrote Virtual Equality (published in 1995). She returned to NGLTF from 1997-2000 as the director of its think tank, the NGLTF Policy Institute, where she initiated work on Racial and Economc Justice, religious and faith organizing, and social science research.

Vaid worked for five years at the Ford Foundation, and served as Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation[6] from 2005 through 2010.

Vaid has served on the board of the Gill Foundation from 2004-2014.[7]

In April 2009 Out magazine named her one of the 50 most influential LGBT people in the United States.[8]

Vaid shares homes in Manhattan and Provincetown, Massachusetts with her partner, comedian Kate Clinton.[9]

Views on LGBT issues[edit]

After the release of her book Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics, Vaid told Curve magazine that her biggest fear was that LGBT communities would get preoccupied by the wins in the fight for marriage equality and slow down their movement. She argued for a more inclusive movement, one that would encompass everyone regardless of race, class, ethnicity, age, or ability.[10]

Vaid hopes that the future of LGBT communities will accomplish two things. "One is to take care of the parts of our community that are less powerful. That means low-income LGBT people, transgender people and our community's women, whose rights are getting the crap kicked out of them, parts of our community across the board -- kids, old gay people" and "The second thing I would love to see happen is for the LGBT community to use its political power and access to create a more just society for all."[11]




  1. ^ a b c http://urvashivaid.net/wp/?page_id=2
  2. ^ a b "Urvashi Vaid Biography". American Immigration Law Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  3. ^ "The Politics of Intersection". Retrieved 2007-10-18. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Stonewall Book Awards". American Library Association. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  5. ^ "Urvashi Vaid to Join Arcus". Arcus Foundation. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Board and Staff". ArcusFoundation.org. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  7. ^ "Urvashi Vaid". GillFoundation.org. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  8. ^ "Power 50: Urvashi Vaid". Retrieved 2013-12-05. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Urvashi Vaid". glbtq.com. 2005-12-21. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  10. ^ http://www.curvemag.com/Curve-Magazine/Web-Articles-2013/Irresistible-Revolutionary/
  11. ^ "Urvashi Vaid Talks Future of LGBT Equality and Being Honored by GLAD (AUDIO)". Huffington Post. 2014-10-17. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ [4]
  16. ^ [5]
  17. ^ [6]
  18. ^ [7]
  19. ^ "GLAD / Events". Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  20. ^ [8]

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