Jean Heyer 612-701-3874
Monica Meyer to depart from OutFront Minnesota – State’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization
APRIL 8, 2021 MINNEAPOLIS – The Board of Directors of OutFront Minnesota announced today that longtime Executive Director Monica Meyer is stepping down at the end of May.
Meyer joined Minnesota’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in 2001 and became the Executive Director in 2010. The Board of Directors is currently in the process of naming an interim director.
Meyer, who uses the pronouns she/they/any, is an esteemed national leader in the LGBTQ+ movement and has advanced OutFront’s mission to create a state where LGBTQ+ people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.
“As an Indigenous organizer in South Dakota, I would read in national news about Monica Meyer’s leadership in the Minnesota queer community, and Monica became a role model for me,” said OutFront Minnesota Board Chair Alfred Walking Bull. “It’s been an honor and joy to serve with Monica over the last few years. There is no fiercer advocate and leader than Monica. Monica consistently demonstrates a loving capacity to have hard conversations, wrestle with difficult changes, and inspire willing co-conspirators to be brave. We at OutFront Minnesota are stronger because of Monica’s fierceness and we are better because of Monica’s leadership.”
Under Meyer’s direction, and with the support of so many other warriors for justice, Minnesota has experienced several big wins for the LGBTQ+ community in the past decade:
- OutFront Minnesota co-founded Minnesotans United for All Families with Project 515 in 2011, which became the biggest grassroots movement our state has ever seen with 27,000 volunteers, 67,000 donors and more than 700 coalition partners.
- In November of 2012, Minnesota became the first state ever to defeat a constitutional amendment that would have permanently limited the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Then, just six months later, in May, 2013, Minnesota became the 12th state to win marriage equality for same-sex couples.
- In April 2014, Minnesota took another step closer to LGBTQ+ equity by passing the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. Meyer and Sen. Scott Dibble had been working on this anti-bullying legislation for 10 years.
- OutFront Minnesota led the Safe Schools for All Coalition, a statewide group of more than 140 education, disability, youth, religious, LGBTQ+ and social services organizations which advocated for passage of the bill.
- In 2014, OutFront also worked with other transgender justice organizations to pass a transgender inclusion policy through the Minnesota State High School League. This same group of co-conspirators worked to create “A Toolkit for Ensuring Schools are Safe and Supportive for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” that was adopted by the Minnesota Department of Education in 2017. More recently, OutFront worked to ensure that people who are non-binary are able to have driver’s licenses and birth certificates that reflect their gender identity.
During Meyer’s tenure, Meyer also established OutFront’s political action committee, which has endorsed hundreds of candidates who support a broad range of issues pertaining to LGBTQ+ equity and expanding democracy; started the annual Youth Summit in 2013 for junior and senior high school students, which is now attended by over 400 students each year; and oversaw the creation of OutFront’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance Network, which has grown to include 220 schools from every corner of the state.
Meyer’s inclusive and progressive vision for the organization expanded the scope of OutFront’s LGBTQ+ advocacy to work for solutions to upend injustices and discrimination that impact the whole lives of diverse LGBTQ+ communities. OutFront is currently working to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy and pass local gender inclusion policies. Ten cities in Minnesota have passed policies opposing conversion therapy. As a response to the murder of George Floyd, OutFront joined the Yes 4 Minneapolis Campaign to advocate for alternative safety strategies to policing.
Forever an activist organizer, Meyer has been bringing together courageous, justice-loving Minnesotans for two decades to make our state a place where all LGBTQ+ people cannot just survive but thrive. The pursuit for freedom, justice and equity has often meant stopping so many harmful and discriminatory policies. Whether it was fighting to stop the repeal of LGBTQ+ legal protections or the many attempts to enact discrimination against transgender people, OutFront has been a catalyst for an expansive network of leaders who show up, speak out and work for equity and justice. Over the past 20 years, Meyer, the OutFront team and many coalition partners have brought tens of thousands of Minnesotans to the Capitol for OutFront’s Annual Lobby Day, committee hearings and votes.
In addition to Meyer’s work at OutFront Minnesota, Meyer also helped launch TakeAction Minnesota, a multi-racial, people-centered organization building power for a government and economy that works for everyone. Meyer currently sits on their board and, in the past, served as Board Chair for three years. Meyer is also Board Chair of the Equality Federation, a social justice, advocacy and capacity building organization serving and supporting state-based LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations across the United States.
“I feel so fortunate to have been a part of OutFront and the movement for LGBTQ+ equity,” said Meyer. “It’s been such an honor to work side by side with so many champions of justice who every day fight for, and celebrate, the humanity and beauty of LGBTQ+ people. Through my work at OutFront since 2001, I have been consistently moved to tears by the ways this world tries to break us and the fierce people who fight with everything they have to change it. My heart is so full of love, respect and gratitude for all of these incredible champions."
Meyer is currently considering several career opportunities. “I can’t share any specifics at this point, but what I can tell you is that my next position will definitely include advocacy and organizing because it’s in my DNA. I am also excited to be a supporter and fan of OutFront and their work for LGBTQ+ equity and racial, economic and gender justice.”
“Monica once shared with me the secret of their success,” confides Board Chair Alfred Walking Bull: “Bring your loving heart.”
STATEMENTS FROM COLLEAGUES
“As a Muslim woman, some have questioned my support for the LGBTQ+ community. But it makes perfect sense to me because I believe in liberation for all people. And Monica Meyer, as the Executive Director of OutFront Minnesota, has been a champion of human rights for everyone in our state. Monica has been fighting for LGBTQ+ justice for more than two decades and her commitment to the movement has expanded and improved our democracy.”
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar
Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District
“I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working alongside Monica Meyer for many years to advance LGBTQ+ equity throughout Minnesota. Like me, Monica believes that when people come together to organize and build power, we can accomplish great things to improve our lives and the lives of those who will follow. We know that anything is possible no matter the opposition we may face. I am proud to say we have faced great opposition and also triumphed. We often talk about standing on the shoulders of justice-loving giants who came before us. Monica is one of those rare champions who carries her leadership very lightly – with humanity, kindness, humor and humility. I know the next generation will regard Monica as one these heroes and I feel fortunate to have been by her side, together fighting for human rights."
Senator Scott Dibble
“Anyone who has had the chance to work with Monica Meyer knows that she is a special kind of leader. Monica is a quiet and steady force for good. She is not loud and she'll never be the one to talk too much in a meeting. Instead, her impact comes from her ability to be fully present, listen deeply and fully engage. Monica has a clarity and integrity that brings trust and respect.
Monica understands that no one lives a single issue life. That is why her commitment to LGBTQ+ equity has intersected with our people-centered, multi-racial movement for justice. In 2006, when TakeAction Minnesota was established, Monica helped lay the groundwork for what our organization would become, and she has been building power alongside us ever since. Monica’s impact is a powerful and enduring one – her leadership has made TakeAction and our state more just, joyful and stronger for generations to come.”
Executive Director, TakeAction Minnesota
“For the past two decades, Monica Meyer’s leadership in the LGBTQ+ movement has extended well beyond the borders of Minnesota. She has influenced and shaped the trajectory for LGBTQ+ equity nationwide, As the Board Chair of the Equality Federation since 2016, Monica has been instrumental in bringing leadership development and advocacy support to LGBTQ+ champions from California to Maine. So many movement leaders, including me, count Monica as a friend and mentor. Her brilliance and steadfast commitment to the LGBTQ+ community has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration.”
Executive Director, Equality Federation
“In the 17 years I’ve worked alongside Monica, I’ve admired how easy she’s made it look to inspire justice-oriented action, mobilize thousands of supporters, and build multi-issue, intersectional coalitions. She wrote the playbook on how to bring people together across difference in common cause, gifting the LGBTQ movement with a legacy we’ll continue to learn from and draw upon now more than ever as we navigate a country that’s at its most polarized.
She was a new but perfect leader at just the right time not only to build and guide the nation’s first successful effort to defeat a popular vote on a same-sex marriage ban, but also to immediately channel that victory into a successful legislative campaign to bring the freedom to marry to all Minnesotan families.
Monica’s big heart and bold vision charted the course for movement priorities in a post-marriage environment, centering the needs of queer Black, Indigenous and people of color, transgender and non-binary people, queer youth, and so many others often left on the margins. I’m honored to call her a friend, grateful to have benefitted from her contributions, and eager to see what impossibilities she makes possible for us all next.”
CEO and National Campaign Director
Freedom for All Americans