Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
The National Youth Advocacy Coalition elevated Gregory Varnum to executive director, the agency’s board of directors announced last week. Varnum had served as acting executive director since April.
“Greg has overseen an intense transition period with bold ideas and steady leadership,” said Chad Grandy, chairman of the board of directors for NYAC. “We are confident in Mr. Varnum’s ability to lead NYAC as it works to inspire a greater youth presence in the LGBT movement and bridge the generational gaps within it.”
Varnum is the third permanent executive director in the 16-year history of the organization. Rea Carey and Craig Bowman served previously. Carey is currently serving as the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Varnum, 25, has been active in advancing LGBT youth causes in various capacities since first coming out over six years ago. Prior to joining NYAC, Varnum served as director of youth initiatives and information technology at the Triangle Foundation, Michigan’s leading LGBT civil rights, anti-violence and advocacy organization.
As acting executive director, Varnum oversaw a strategic planning process and worked extensively to reintroduce the NYAC brand, “Building a Generation of Impact.”
Varnum continues to rebuild collaborative relationships with ally organizations and he envisions a great future for NYAC. “In light of the passage of Proposition 8 and the ongoing struggles of queer youth in our society, this is truly a pivotal moment for our moment,” Varnum said. “I am humbled that NYAC has chosen me to lead our efforts in the days ahead. I’m deeply appreciative to my staff, whose professionalism and dedication is a consistent source of pride.”
Varnum said that NYAC will soon unveil new efforts to focus our movement on the needs of queer youth – needs that are far more expansive than marriage equality.
“Queer youth played a huge role in the election of Barack Obama, which presents a great opportunity for progress,” explained Varnum. “While marriage equality is important, young gay people have told us that bullying in school, health-related issues, hate crimes and an inclusive ENDA bill are equally important to them. It would be unforgiveable to allow our moment to be defined by a single issue. NYAC will lend a voice to the broad concerns of queer youth in the next year.”
Varnum holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Michigan University. He is owner and president of Varnum Enterprises, a non-profit consulting company. Varnum also served as director for Camping.OUT, an LGBT youth camp in Michigan. He has volunteered countless hours for numerous LGBT causes, including NYAC’s National Transgender Review Board, the youth engagement subcommittee for the 20th Creating Change conference, as cochair, and the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, as public policy advisor.