The HRC Story

Associate Director of Field Outreach

Department: Policy and Political Affairs

Donna Payne

Donna Payne

As one of HRC's key representatives, Payne works closely with civil rights organizations and their leaders to increase visibility of the LGBT community within the religious and people of color communities.  Her work included being the founder of HRC’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program in supporting LGBT students on their campus and addressing concerns with HBCU administrators.  Payne has been given many awards across the country for her organizing skills and political forums in the African-American same-gender-loving community. As a change agent, Ms Payne has directly advocated for open dialogue between African American ministers and the LGBT community.  Known as a devoted HRC speaker in the lgbt community, Donna has also written articles nationwide on being a lgbt civil rights African American lesbian and received many awards for her transformational organizing work without regard for race, sexual orientation, gender identity or age. In 2012, she received the National Action Network’s Woman of Excellence Award and was named one of the Top Twenty Black LGBT Movers and Shakers making exceptional contributions in her community.  In 2009, The named her as one of 100 established black Americans who are making exceptional contributions in their professions and communities. 

In 2001, Donna was the lgbt representative for HRC and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. She graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in Political Science. She has served the political community through the Young Democrats in Washington, DC, the Political Congress of Black Women and on Congressional campaigns in the south.  She volunteered with the Clinton administration during its national health care reform efforts at the White House.  She is a founding board of the National Black Justice Coalition.  Ms Payne is also a member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC.