January 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Biden Foundation sets up advisory councils for women, LGBT rights
Joe Biden, Human Rights Campaign, HRC, gay news, Washington Blade, National Dinner

Former Vice President Joe Biden</strong> has created advisory councils for women and LGBT rights.
(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Former Vice President Joseph Biden, among the potential Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election, announced on Monday the creation of two new advisory councils for his foundation: One to advance LGBT rights, the other to end violence against women.

Members of both councils are made up of prominent advocates on women’s and LGBT issues, many of whom are supporters of the Democratic Party.

Individuals named to the LGBTQ Equality Advisory Council include singer Cyndi Lauper, former NBA player Jason Collins, transgender activist Sarah McBride, Judy Shepard, marriage equality advocate Evan Wolfson and former U.S. ambassador to Romania Michael Guest.

Biden said in a statement members of the councils “have devoted their lives to that creed, and we’re lucky to have them lend their expertise to this mission.”

“By working together, we can do more to protect the rights of all people, expand access to opportunity and give every American a chance at a middle-class life,” Biden said. “I am eager for what we will accomplish together.”

According to a statement from the Biden Foundation, the advisory councils will recognize the power of public-private initiatives, serve as ambassadors for the Biden Foundation and guide strategic partnerships to create societal change.

Louisa Terrell, executive director of the Biden Foundation, said in a statement each council member “has made it their life’s work to protect and advance the rights of the most vulnerable.”

“We’re honored to have them volunteer their knowledge to the Foundation as we work together to build a more just society,” Terrell added.

Biden has a record of highlighting the issue of violence against women. As a U.S. senator, he was author of the Violence Against Women Act, a law that was reauthorized in 2013 when he was vice president to include LGBT-specific protections.

On LGBT issues, Biden was also at the forefront. The vice president famously came out for same-sex marriage days before former President Obama and called transgender issues the “civil rights issue of our time” and was active in championing international LGBT human rights.

Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund, highlighted the issue of LGBT youth homelessness in a statement on her membership of the LGBT council.

“In America, up to 1.6 million youth experience homelessness each year. 40 percent of them identify as LGBTQ, compared to the seven percent of the general youth population that is LGBTQ. The True Colors Fund is working hard to change that,” Lauper said. “As a lifelong ally and advocate, Vice President Biden gets it — and today, I’m proud to join the Biden Foundation as we work to make equality a reality.”

The full roster of both advisory councils follows.

LGBTQ Equality Advisory Council
Cyndi Lauper, Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Activist; Founder, True Colors Fund
Sara Ramírez, Tony Award–winning Actress and Activist
Jason Collins, Professional Basketball Player (retired), National Basketball Association
Sarah McBride, National Press Secretary, Human Rights Campaign
Phillip Picardi, Chief Content Officer, Them and Teen Vogue
Judy Shepard, President, Matthew Shepard Foundation
Evan Wolfson, Founder and Former President, Freedom to Marry
Marsha Aizumi, Author, Speaker, Educator, Advocate Member, PFLAG National Board of Directors
Dr. Eliza Byard, Executive Director, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
Ambassador Michael Guest, Former U.S. Ambassador to Romania
Mara Keisling, Founder and Executive director, National Center for Transgender Equality
Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director and Co-Founder, Family Acceptance Project
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Founding Executive Director, Campaign for Southern Equality; Minister, United Church of Christ
Jacob Tobia, Writer, Producer, Author
Amit Paley, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Trevor Project Precious Davis, Activist, Educator, Public Speaker

Ending Violence Against Women Advisory Council
Justin Baldoni, Actor, filmmaker and activist
Karma Cottman, Founder, Ujima: The National Center on Violence Against Black Women; Executive Director, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Jess Davidson, Managing Director, End Rape on Campus
Venkayla Haynes, Regional Advisor, It’s On Us
Rosie Hidalgo, Senior Director of Policy, Casa de Esperanza; Senior Advisor, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Olivia Hinerfeld, Activist
Vivian Huelgo, Chief Counsel, Task Force on Human Trafficking and Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence of the American Bar Association
Neil Irvin, Executive Director, Men Can Stop Rape
Demetra Lambros, Appellate attorney, U.S. Department of Justice
Zerlina Maxwell, Director of Progressive Programming, SiriusXM
Victoria Nourse, Professor, Georgetown Law School
Nancy Schwartzman, Director, Producer, Mobile App Developer; CEO, Tech 4 Good
Patti Seger, Executive Director, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin
Susan Sorenson, Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Andrew Sta. Ana, Director of Legal Services, Day One
Ebony Tucker, Advocacy Director, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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