Leaders of The Pack

Meet inspiring women forging ahead in the arts, spirituality, health, human rights and more

Administrator, Lambda Literary Awards

Kathleen DeBold credits the books she’s read with helping fuel her 20-plus years of LGBT activism, including her current role mentoring and ushering in the future of our community’s literature. DeBold kicked off her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, where she read the likes of Djuna Barnes and Renee Vivien by the light of a kerosene lamp! Since then, she has served as Deputy Director of the Victory Fund, Executive Director of the Mautner Project and Interim Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Now, she’s using that experience to further the Lambda Literary Foundation’s mission of nurturing, celebrating and preserving LGBT literature. It’s a perfect job for merging her passion for social justice with her love of LGBT literature, history and culture. Our literature has played a huge part in our growth and success as a movement, DeBold says. Just think of how many people got their first exposure to transgender issues through Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues. And how many were able to make the connection between gay liberation and the larger struggle for social justice thanks to writers like Audre Lorde, Pat Parker and James Baldwin. And how Randy Shilts And The Band Played On impacted the fight against AIDS. The power of our words to create change is really staggering.

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