Candace Gingrich


Candace Gingrich has emerged as one of the most thoughtful and effective spokespeople advocating for gay, lesbian, and bisexual equal rights since she “came out” in 1995.  Her 1996 autobiography, The Accidental Activist, was a bestseller in the gay and lesbian community and offers insight into the passion and noteworthy wit that has made her one of the most popular lesbian speakers in America. She has been profiled in The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek and newspapers across the country.  She has also appeared on Good Morning America, Larry King Live and other national television news programs.
Candace decided to get involved in the movement for equal rights when her brother was elected House Speaker, feeling that she had "an opportunity and an obligation" to help educate Congress and the general public about the problem of discrimination and the lack of equal rights for lesbian and gay Americans. She participated in the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC’s) annual leadership conference in March 1995, thus marking her introduction into activism. She also  joined more than 100 fellow advocates from more than 30 states in lobbying Members of Congress to preserve HIV/AIDS funding, end job discrimination against gay and lesbian people, and stop anti-gay hate legislation in the 104th Congress.

In 1995, Gingrich traveled to more than 50 U.S. cities on behalf of HRC, spreading the message that “Your brother doesn’t have to be speaker of the House for your voice to be heard in Washington.”  She spoke at town meetings, gay pride events, dinners and house parties, establishing a reputation as a plain-spoken, common-sense advocate for lesbian and gay equality.

Gingrich currently focuses on helping people “come out” in her work as manager of HRC’s National Coming Out Project (NCOP). NCOP encourages lesbians, gay men and bisexuals to be honest about their sexual orientation all year long to family members, friends and co-workers. NCOP organizes and facilitates educational and outreach events, resulting in media visibility that serve to inspire, educate and inform gay and non-gay Americans by presenting the true diversity of the gay community. All of these activities culminate on October 11, National Coming Out Day (NCOD).

Candace Gingrich, the sister of U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), was born on June 2, 1966, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Robert and Kathleen Gingrich. In addition to her brother, she has two sisters, Susan Gingrich and Roberta Brown. The family moved frequently due to Robert Gingrich's career in the U.S. Army, living in California, Kansas, Maryland and Panama before settling in Pennsylvania.

Candace graduated in 1984 from Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, where she took college preparatory courses and played hockey and softball. She then attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, where she played hockey and was involved in advocacy for women's issues through the school's Women's Advisory Council. She graduated in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in sociology with a concentration in women's studies.

Before joining the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Candace worked as a computer consultant to the Pennsylvania Department of Education and as a package sorter at United Parcel Service. She is an avid rugby player.

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