Todd Larson

Last updated

Todd Larson (born 1960) is an American recognized for his contributions towards securing rights and benefits for LGBT employees of the United Nations. He served as Presidential Appointee and the Senior Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Coordinator at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with a mandate to give substance and sustainability to an historic Presidential Memorandum, which established LGBTQI+ human rights and development as a new US foreign policy priority. [1]

Contents

Elected Office

In April 2022, in an atypically contentious [2] [3] [4] election for the non-partisan Green County, WI Board of Supervisors District 25, Larson beat his opponent in a landslide, more than two to one, [5] and turning out a higher percentage of voters than nearly any other district in the county. In doing so, Larson became the first ever openly gay elected official of Green County, WI. Simultaneously, Larson was supporting [6] Steven Olikara in his bid to join US Senator Tammy Baldwin as the junior senator from Wisconsin.

Interestingly, Larson Farm has a long political history which Larson is following. George Fjelstad Sr., who married into the family which originally settled Larson Farm, served as Chair of the Perry Town Board (the northern half of Larson Farm sits in Perry Township, Dane County) and later held the position of Dane County Clerk for 18 years, until 1924. [7] And Selma Fjelstad, [8] George's daughter, upset his successor in a contentious race to become County Clerk in 1926 - and the first woman ever elected to office in Dane County.

Senior Presidential Appointee in the Obama-Biden Administration

Larson's role at USAID included a mandate to coordinate the Agency's implementation of the President's December 6, 2011 memorandum on "International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons" [9] and, in particular, lead ongoing inter-Agency efforts to ensure regular U.S. Government engagement with governments, citizens, civil society and the private sector to build respect for the human rights and development of LGBTQI+ persons. [10] According to USAID Deputy Administrator Mark Feierstein, this included "bringing together domestic and global partners while ensuring that USAID is integrating LGBT considerations into every area of our work and every place where we work." [11]

This also entailed building an LGBTQI+ office mandate, staffing table, budget and programmatic vision which had never previously existed for the US federal government.[ citation needed ] Larson also authored an historic Federal Rule binding all US foreign assistance to be made exclusively in non-discriminatory fashion. [12] [13]

Work with the United Nations

Larson's work with the Federation of International Civil Servants' Associations and the UN Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Employees group (UNGLOBE) starting in 1998 led to what are considered the first affirmative, internal policy initiatives in the then 60-year history of the UN in favor of LGBTQI+ rights, [14]  particularly a successful eight-year effort to convince the UN to give domestic partners and same-gender spouses of employees the same benefits and entitlements of employment as have always been granted to UN employees' opposite gender spouses. [15]

Larson was employed at the United Nations for twenty years in a variety of legal and managerial capacities, most recently as Senior Counselor at the World Intellectual Property Organization in New York. In his career at the UN, Larson served with the High Commissioner for Refugees in Indonesia and Malaysia and with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Cambodia, Haiti and the Former Yugoslavia.

LGBT Advocacy

Larson previously served on the board of directors for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC, now OutRight Action International) from 2007 to 2013, and was co-chair of the board for the majority of that period. [16] He also served on the board of directors for the Fair Wisconsin Education Fund. [17]

Education

Larson received his undergraduate degree in history from Carleton College in 1983 (Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude), with an emphasis in the French language. He received his Juris Doctor degree and master's degree in international studies from the University of Washington in 1988. 

Awards

Larson was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Washington School of Law in 2007, James Madison Memorial High School in 2009, the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in 2020, [18] and Carleton College in 2020. [19]

Larson was given special recognition by IGLHRC (now OutRight Action International) in 2014, commemorating his years of volunteer service and tenure as chairperson of the board. [20]

Personal life

After graduating from Carleton College in 1983, Larson served in the Peace Corps for two years in Togo, West Africa. Larson owns and manages his family property Larson Farm. Larson's groundbreaking LGBTQI+ roles at the United Nations and in the US federal government are chronicled in a legacy article in the Wisconsin publication, Our Lives. [21]

Larson has frequent public-speaking engagements, most recently delivering the (online) 2020 commencement address for the University of Washington School of International Studies and the keynote address at the 2019 Out After Carleton Family Reunion.

Larson Farm Website

Testimony at historic hearing of Green County WI Board to adopt June as Pride Month

Endorsement of Steven Olikara in primary race for second US Senate seat from WI

Online commencement address to Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

Related Research Articles

This is a list of notable events in the history of LGBT rights that took place in the year 1977.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</span>

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) face discrimination and legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal for both males and females in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although LGBT individuals may still be targeted for prosecution under public indecency provisions on occasion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT rights in Ghana</span>

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Ghana face legal and societal challenges and discrimination not experienced by non-LGBT citizens.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBTQ Victory Fund</span> United States political action committee

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, commonly shortened to Victory Fund, is an American political action committee dedicated to increasing the number of out LGBTQ+ public officials in the United States. Victory Fund is the largest LGBTQ+ political action committee in the United States and one of the nation's largest non-connected PACs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">OutRight Action International</span> LGBTIQ human rights organization

OutRight International (OutRight) is an LGBTIQ human rights non-governmental organization that addresses human rights violations and abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. OutRight International documents human rights discrimination and abuses based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics in partnership with activists, advocates, media, NGOs and allies on a local, regional, national and international level. OutRight International holds consultative status with ECOSOC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scott Long</span>

Scott Long is a US-born activist for international human rights, primarily focusing on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. He founded the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, the first-ever program on LGBT rights at a major "mainstream" human rights organization, and served as its executive director from May 2004 - August 2010. He later was a visiting fellow in the Human Rights Program of Harvard Law School from 2011 to 2012.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT rights in the Philippines</span>

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) in the Philippines face some legal challenges not faced by non-LGBT people, with numerous anti-discrimination legislations, bills and laws that are struggling to be passed on a national level to protect LGBT rights nationwide, with some parts of the country only existing on a local government level. LGBT individuals in the Philippines are often faced with disadvantages and difficulties in acquiring equal rights within the country. They also have a higher rate of suicide and suicide ideation compared to their heterosexual counterparts.

Joël Gustave Nana Ngongang (1982–2015), frequently known as Joel Nana, was a leading African LGBT human rights advocate and HIV/AIDS activist. Nana's career as a human rights advocate spanned numerous African countries, including Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, in addition to his native Cameroon. H was the Chief Executive Officer of Partners for Rights and Development (Paridev) a boutique consulting firm on human rights, development and health in Africa at the time of his death. Prior to that position, he was the founding Executive Director of the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) an African thought and led coalition of LGBT/MSM organizations working to address the vulnerability of MSM to HIV, Mr Nana worked in various national and international organizations, including the Africa Research and Policy Associate at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission(IGLHRC), as a Fellow at Behind the Mask, a Johannesburg-based non-profit media organisation publishing a news website concerning gay and lesbian affairs in Africa, he wrote on numerous topics in the area of African LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues and was a frequent media commentator. Nana died on October 15, 2015, after a brief illness.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT rights in Djibouti</span>

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Djibouti face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. LGBT persons face stigmatization among the broader population.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iranian Queer Organization</span> LGBT advocacy group based in Toronto

The Iranian Queer Organization, also known as the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization, was an advocacy group for LGBT rights in Iran based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The organization was founded by human rights activist Arsham Parsi and monitors violations of gay rights in Iran. Under the Islamic laws of Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT rights in Zambia</span>

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Zambia face significant challenges not experienced by non-LGBT citizens. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal for both males and females in Zambia. Formerly a colony of the British Empire, Zambia inherited the laws and legal system of its colonial occupiers upon independence in 1964. Laws concerning homosexuality have largely remained unchanged since then, and homosexuality is covered by sodomy laws that also proscribe bestiality. Social attitudes toward LGBT people are mostly negative and coloured by perceptions that homosexuality is immoral and a form of insanity. However, in recent years, younger generations are beginning to show positive and open minded attitudes towards their LGBT peers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT rights at the United Nations</span>

Discussions of LGBT rights at the United Nations have included resolutions and joint statements in the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), attention to the expert-led human rights mechanisms, as well as by the UN Agencies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT rights in South Sudan</span>

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in South Sudan face legal and societal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Male same-sex sexual activity is illegal and carries a penalty of up to ten years' imprisonment. Active enforcement of the law is not pursued by authorities: No prosecutions are known to have occurred since South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. LGBT persons are met with abuse and discrimination from agents of the government and additionally face stigmatisation among the broader population.

Gloria Angélica Careaga Pérez is a Mexican social psychologist and feminist. She has taught at the Faculty of Psychology in the National Autonomous University of Mexico since 1979. She is co-founder of Mexican organization El Closet de Sor Juana and former co-Secretary General of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Insight is a Ukrainian LGBTQI organization. Unlike most Ukrainian LGBT organizations focused on work with gay men and MSM, Insight’s priority is to help lesbians, bisexual women, transgender, queer and intersex people. Insight is one of the few public organizations in working with transgender people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">United States Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons</span>

The Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons is a position at the United States Department of State within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The office oversees the United States government’s efforts to support the human rights of LGBTQI+ people around the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LGBT health in South Korea</span>

The health access and health vulnerabilities experienced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA) community in South Korea are influenced by the state's continuous failure to pass anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The construction and reinforcement of the South Korean national subject, "kungmin," and the basis of Confucianism and Christianity perpetuates heteronormativity, homophobia, discrimination, and harassment towards the LGBTQI community. The minority stress model can be used to explain the consequences of daily social stressors, like prejudice and discrimination, that sexual minorities face that result in a hostile social environment. Exposure to a hostile environment can lead to health disparities within the LGBTQI community, like higher rates of depression, suicide, suicide ideation, and health risk behavior. Korean public opinion and acceptance of the LGBTQI community have improved over the past two decades, but change has been slow, considering the increased opposition from Christian activist groups. In South Korea, obstacles to LGBTQI healthcare are characterized by discrimination, a lack of medical professionals and medical facilities trained to care for LGBTQI individuals, a lack of legal protection and regulation from governmental entities, and the lack of medical care coverage to provide for the health care needs of LGBTQI individuals. The presence of Korean LGBTQI organizations is a response to the lack of access to healthcare and human rights protection in South Korea. It is also important to note that research that focuses on Korean LGBTQI health access and vulnerabilities is limited in quantity and quality as pushback from the public and government continues.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GALZ</span> LGBTI activism in Zimbabwe

GALZ An Association of LGBTI People in Zimbabwe is an organisation established in 1990 in Harare to serve the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in Zimbabwe. GALZ's vision is "a just society that promotes and protects human rights of LGBTI people as equal citizens in Zimbabwe".

References

  1. Lavers, Michael K (23 July 2014). "Retired U.N. Official leads USAID LGBT initiatives". Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  2. Bauer and Beckwith, Charles and Charles (March 31, 2022). "Bauer and Beckwith Support Larson". Post Messenger Recorder. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  3. Thoemke, Greg (March 31, 2022). "Thoemke Finds Larson's Silence Telling". Post Messenger Recorder. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  4. Larson, Todd (March 31, 2022). "Larson's Response to Thoemke". Post Messenger Recorder. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  5. "Green County, 2022 Spring Election". Green County Wisconsin. April 5, 2022. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  6. Larson, Todd. "Endorsement by Todd Larson, United Nations retiree & former Senior Obama Appointee". YouTube. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  7. "Family History Notes, Summer 2012" (PDF). New Glarus Public Library. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  8. "Issuing Hunting License". Wisconsin Historical Society. December 2003. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  9. "Presidential Memorandum- International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons". whitehouse.gov . 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2014-06-27 via National Archives.
  10. "FACT SHEET: Obama Administration's Record and the LGBT Community". whitehouse.gov . 9 June 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2021 via National Archives.
  11. "U.S. Official at Launch of USAID's LGBT Vision for Action". 2014-06-17. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  12. "No 'exemption' under new USAID contractor rule". Washington Blade. November 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  13. "Requirement for Nondiscrimination Against End-Users of Supplies or Services ("Beneficiaries") Under USAID-Funded Contracts". Federal Register. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  14. "Obama Administration Brings Global LGBTI Community Together to AdvanceHuman Rights and Development". Global Equality Today. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  15. "Todd Larson '83 of World Intellectual Property Organization to give Carleton Convocation". Carleton News. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  16. "IGLHRC: Celebration of Courage 2014 Bios" . Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  17. "Fair Wisconsin Education Fund" . Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  18. "Celebrating the Jackson School Class of 2020". The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies; University of Washington. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  19. "2020 Alumni Association Award Recipients". Carleton College; Alumni Council. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  20. "COC 2014 Bios". OutRight Action International. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  21. "Pushing Policy". Our Lives. Retrieved 2 March 2021.