National LGBTQ Task Force Announces Additions to Field Staff

Rae Leiner Joins as Field Director, and Elijah Nichols, Field Organizer

(WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 25, 2022) — The National LGBTQ Task Force announced today that Rae Leiner (they/them) joins the Task Force as our new Field Director and Elijah Nichols (they/them) joins the organization as Field Organizer in the Advocacy and Action Department.

Said Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force: “We are thrilled to continue building our field department. Rae Leiner and Elijah Nichols both bring rich and diverse experiences, passion and power to this vital aspect of the Task Force’s work. As the queer community continues to face unrelenting and escalating attacks at every level, Rae and Elijah will be instrumental to successfully mobilizing and engaging people in our work for liberation and equity.”

Below are bios for Rae and Elijah: 

Rae Leiner (they/them) 

Rae Leiner is a Black identified multi-racial non-binary Queer organizer, activist, and parent currently residing in the Hudson Valley. An experienced facilitator, community organizer, strategic thinker, embodied practitioner, and strategic relationship builder, Rae’s creative thinking and radical dreaming inform their analysis and guide their systemic approach to challenging race, class, and gender injustice. In 2005 they earned their Bachelor of Arts from Antioch College in Africana Studies with a focus on aesthetics and intersecting identity. Their professional trajectory is focused on social and racial justice and movements for transformative change.  Rae work encompasses multi facets of roles including the Director at Planned Parenthood of Greater New York working at the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality to dismantle practices and address systemic oppression to improve patient and staff outcomes. As co-founder and member of the executive leadership team at the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, a queer and trans of color-led activist organization in the mid-Hudson Valley, Rae provides coaching, directs professional development, designs and leads curriculum, trains organizers, and leads the legislative agenda work. As a former director of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in the city of Newburgh, a former Community Voices Heard organizer in Orange County, and a former staff at Critical Resistance North East chapter, Rae brings 15+ years of professional leadership to areas of social justice and racial equity.   

Elijah Nichols (they/them) 

Elijah utilizes their over ten years of organizing and advocacy experiences to help build community and foster a commitment to the collective struggle for our liberation. Originally from Michigan, Elijah chose to attend George Mason University and completed a Bachelors in Government and International Politics with a focus on the intersection of class struggles with LGBTQ+ liberation. Before the National LGBTQ+ Task Force, Elijah held the role as the Policy and Advocacy Director for Not My Generation, where they focused their time and energy on educational resource building and building out a strong field team. Of their accomplishments in the role, they are most proud of their work with the podcast series titled Root Causes and the democratically crafted “De-Policing the Gun Violence Prevention Movement Policy Playbook.” Additionally, they worked with organizations such as Giffords and Win Without War. Elijah, also, actively engages in local and state-level abolitionist movement work with small collectives and student organizers on the regular. Outside of work, Elijah performs in Drag as “MasVusi” at local restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in the D.C. metropolitan area.  

Cathy Renna, Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force, 917-757-6123,

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we have made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. Those barriers must go.