Women's Activism NYC

Virginia Apuzzo

1942 - Today

By: Gita Levy | Date Added:

Virginia Apuzzo was originally a nun before coming out as a lesbian after the Stonewall riots and becoming executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. To further advocate for the gay community, Apuzzo also co-created the Lambda Independent Democrats, in which she wrote the first gay and lesbian civil rights plank for the Democratic Party, and became the first openly lesbian delegate at the Democratic National Convention. In 1997, she became assistant to the president for administration and management under Bill Clinton, making her the highest ranked lesbian in federal government. She later joined the Women’s Caucus and began working at the New York City’s Department of Public Health. It was here that Apuzzo became vocal about the AIDS epidemic, creating hotlines and testifying at the first congressional hearing. Because of her dedication to the cause, New York Governor Mario Cuomo appointed her to vice chair of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council in 1985. Prior to her retirement, Apuzzo was also a tenured teacher at Brooklyn College, and Commission on Public Integrity.

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