October 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
National LGBT advocacy group changes name

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey (Blade photo by Michael Key)

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on Wednesday announced it will change its name.

The LGBT advocacy group in a press release said its new name is the National LGBTQ Task Force. The organization’s new tagline is “Be You” and vision is “a society that values and respects the diversity of human expression and identity and achieves freedom and equality for all.”

“We are seeing a real palpable hunger in LGBTQ people’s hearts not just to be out, but to bring their entire selves to every aspect of their lives: to ‘Be You’ without fear, without persecution without discrimination,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the Task Force. “And there is a deep desire for more change, to look beyond marriage equality, with millions of us still facing formidable barriers in every aspect of our lives: at school, in housing, employment, in health care, in our faith congregations, in retirement and in basic human rights.”

The Task Force, which was founded in 1973 as the National Gay Task Force, is the country’s oldest national LGBT advocacy group.

The organization organizes the annual Creating Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Denver in February.

Carey in June was a grand marshal of New York’s annual LGBT Pride parade alongside Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black” and actor Jonathan Groff.

The National LGBTQ Task Force in recent years has lobbied for a comprehensive immigration reform bill and other non-LGBT issues.

Carey is among those who spoke at a 2013 rally outside the U.S. Capitol in support of the issue. Police arrested her and 26 others in May 2014 after they blocked an intersection outside the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Task Force also participated in a D.C. protest against the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager.

The organization in 2012 faced questions over a mailing opposed to expanded gambling in Maryland that it sent to households throughout the state.

The Task Force publicly opposed the expanded gambling bill, arguing a referendum on it would encourage more conservative voters to turn out in the general election and vote against Maryland’s same-sex marriage law that had already been placed on the ballot.

State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s County), who voted against marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland, claimed a casino company paid for the mailing.

The Task Force did not disclose who funded the literature.

Both referenda on the same-sex marriage law and expanded gaming in the state passed.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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