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Urvashi Vaid's Biography

Member Info

Jul 2012

Urvashi Vaid is an attorney and organizer whose long-standing leadership in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and social justice movements spans the fields of civil rights, LGBT rights, philanthropic, academic, and grassroots social justice organizations.
Vaid currently serves as Director of the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, which researches how gender and sexual justice movements can more effectively engage tradition-based arguments. Since 2004, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Gill Foundation, the premier funder of LGBT rights in the United States.

She is former CEO of the Arcus Foundation, a leading global funder of LGBT human rights and great ape conservation (2005-2010). Vaid was Deputy Director of the Governance and Civil Society Program at the Ford Foundation, where she focused on strengthening social justice infrastructure and US civil society (2000-2005).

Vaid is a former executive director (1989-1992) of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), where she also worked as media director (1986-1989) and director of its think tank (1997-2000). As a staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1983-1986, Vaid initiated work on HIV/AIDS in prisons.

Vaid is also founder and principal of The Vaid Group, LLC, a consulting practice that advises social justice innovators, and serves on the faculty of The Public Squared, which trains nonprofit social entrepreneurs in public policy advocacy. Vaid is co-founder and Advisory Board member of LPAC, a national lesbian political action committee whose goals are to support feminist, progressive and pro-LGBT campaigns.

Vaid is author of Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics, (to be published August 2012 by Magnus Books) and Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation (Anchor Books, 1996), an award-winning analysis of the LGBT movement in the US. She is co-editor, with Dr. John D’Emilio and Dr. William Turner, of Creating Change: Public Policy, Sexuality and Civil Rights (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), and is the author of many reports, articles and talks, some available at her web site www.urvashivaid.net.

Vaid is a graduate of Vassar College and Northeastern University School of Law. She lives in New York with her partner, the humorist Kate Clinton.

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