Jarrett T. Barrios named GLAAD president
Former state senator starts post on Sept. 7Jarrett T. Barrios, a former state senator from Massachusetts, has been named president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
A media advocacy group, GLAAD works to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Barrios -- who is studying community health in Brazil this summer as a 2009 Eisenhower Fellow -- will begin his new job on Sept. 7. Until then, GLAAD's senior vp J. Michael Durnil will serve as interim president.
Barrios, 40, will become the youngest leader of GLAAD. A Cuban-American who is fluent in English and Spanish, he was the first openly gay person and the first Latino elected to the Massachusetts State Senate, where he represented a largely white, Catholic, working-class district.
As a state senator, he helped lead the legislative effort to protect marriage equality in Massachusetts. He also successfully championed anti-bullying legislation, the Gay and Lesbian Youth Commission to prevent teen suicide and make schools safe for LGBT youth, and buffer zones for women's health facilities.
He also has worked as a fundraiser and manager who broke fundraising records in his election campaigns and managed a multi-million dollar budget at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts, where he is currently president.
A graduate of Harvard College and the Georgetown University Law Center, he began his advocacy for LGBT equality by co-chairing Harvard's LGBT student organization in the late 1980s and the Boston Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project in the early 1990s. He has also served on the boards of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and Greater Boston Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance.
Barrios is married to Doug Hattaway, his partner of 16 years, and they are raising two teenage sons.
"In this historical battle for freedom for LGBT citizens, we need not only good leaders but great leaders," LGBT advocate and author David Mixner said. "The selection by GLAAD of Jarrett Barrios to lead them in their invaluable work is simply brilliant. As a father, husband, former legislator and son of immigrants from Cuba, no one understands more than Jarrett what is at stake in this powerful moment in our history."
"We're making progress toward equality, but we'll only achieve full equality if we change hearts and minds - and that's what GLAAD is all about," Barrios said. "We're working for the day when every one of us is accepted, respected and valued for the contributions we make to this country. It's an ambitious goal, but I know we can do it."