Terry Bean is a pioneer in the Human Rights movement, who has devoted his life to achieving equality for LGBT citizens.
Terry Bean is a leader in the Human Rights movement. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski declared August 23, 2008, to be “Terry Bean Equality Day” in recognition for the work he has done on LGBT rights causes since the 1970’s.
A pioneer in the movement, Terry Bean, started advocating politically for gay rights in the early 1970's in Eugene, Oregon. His work resulted in the passing of a city gay rights ordinance, which was later overturned by voters. In 1979, Bean helped to organize the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
After the march on Washington, Terry Bean turned his focus to the national level co-founding the Gay Rights National Lobby and the Human Rights Campaign Fund. These groups merged to become today's Human Rights Campaign - HRC.
In 2002, Bean was instrumental in acquiring of the HRC Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C. This beautiful building is an iconic symbol for all GBLT citizens.
Elizabeth Birch, the former Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign, says of Terry Bean, “He understood that politics needed to be played with votes and money, even though the much more fun stuff was happening on the street.”
Terry Bean and Vic Basile founded the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund to raise money for gay and lesbian candidates in 1991. At the founding there were only 49 openly gay elected officials, by 2007 that number had risen to over 400.
Bean's fund-raising prowess has proven vital to the success of organizations such as the Gay Rights National Lobby and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
A life-long Democrat, Bean has been a major fund raiser for party candidates both nationally and locally in Oregon including President Bill Clinton, Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts and President Barack Obama. Bean has served on many Democratic committees; currently he is serving on the DNC - National Democratic Committee, as chair for the Oregon Finance Committee for Obama and as a member of the National Finance Committee.
Terry Bean's list of achievements is long including:
- Co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT equal rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. Bean has been an active member of HRC's Board of Directors since it's formation in 1980.
- Co-founder of the Gay Games, Bean won two gold medals in golf in the first games held in San Francisco in 1982.
- Co-founder of the Oregon Right to Privacy PAC in the early 1980's
- Co-founder of the Equity Foundation, a Portland, Oregon based philanthropic organization, formed in 1989 to give grants to LGBT community groups and programs. Bean currently serves on the board of directors.
- Bean has received honors for his human rights work from Basic Rights Oregon, Oregon Right to Privacy PAC and HRC.
Perhaps the best quote to sum up Terry Bean is by David Mixner political strategist and civil rights activist:
"Terry Bean is always one of those behind the scenes people you rarely hear about in American politics that gets more done than most elected officials. For over thirty years, Terry Bean has unselfishly committed himself to the struggle for human rights. This man has never given up on the fight for LGBT equality. He also has been a participant in every major battle for freedom and justice in his lifetime."