The Audacity of Hope


With Tom Gallagher, the first Foreign Service Officer to come out to the U.S. Department of State in 1975. He was posted in Nigeria, picked up a copy of Newsweek magazine which had “Gay Liberation Movement” on the cover and read about his friend from the Peace Corps speaking openly about his sexual orientation and advocating for gay rights. Tom told me, “I thought – if he can do it, I can.” After becoming an advocate for gay rights and having his story reported in The Washington Post, Tom resigned from the State Department, giving up the job he dreamed of having since the fourth grade, as he could no longer lie to the government or himself. He was the youngest Chief of Mission at the time – posted at Guayaquil in Ecuador. He moved to California. Through his courage, he changed the lives of thousands of employees – people – around the world.

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