100 Women We Love

photo by COURTESY OF GLSEN
Dr. Eliza Byard
In a time when anti-gay bullying is getting nonstop media coverage, we're lucky to have Dr. Eliza Byard at the forefront of advocating safer schools for all students. Dr. Byard is the Executive Director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a world-renowned leader in education, youth development and the protection of civil rights. Under her leadership, GLSEN is fighting to end bias-based bullying, violence and discrimination in schools. In 2008, Dr. Byard was responsible for developing GLSEN's Think B4 You Speak, the first-ever Ad Council campaign on LGBT issues. For more than a decade, she's guided the development of GLSEN's public education, advocacy efforts and in-school programs like No Name-Calling Week. In addition, she has crafted and implemented legislative strategies that have won bipartisan support at all levels of government. Her efforts have helped win widespread recognition of the importance of LGBT issues to America's commitment to educational opportunity. Before GLSEN, Dr. Byard was the executive producer of the groundbreaking documentary Out of the Past, which focuses on 400 years of LGBT people and events in history. She graduated from high school and came out in the mid-1980s, at the height of HIV/AIDS hysteria and anti-gay backlash. That's when she heard the call to arms. "The LGBT community was under siege," she explains. "Seeing the community coming together in the great and desperate work of change, I knew I needed to contribute to it."
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