Equality Forum: Remembering gay icon James Hormel

Jim Hormel, a philanthropist, an LGBT History Month Icon, and the first openly gay ambassador of the United States, died on August 13, 2021. He was 88.

Nominated a U.S. foreign ambassador in 1997, Hormel faced fierce opposition from anti-gay Republicans and a vicious homophobic campaign launched by special interest groups. Three conservative senators repeatedly blocked his nomination. In defiance, President Clinton appointed him ambassador to Luxemburg during a recess in 1999.

Hormel served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1996 and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1995.

His philanthropy and activism focused on human rights and equality. At the San Francisco Main Public Library, he established the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center, which houses one of the most comprehensive collections of LGBTQ literature.

Learn more about Jim Hormel at Gay History Month.