Ted Martin ’87
LGBT advocate focuses on finding common ground
by Michelle Simmons
September 1, 2010
"I've always been political, willing to take stands," says Ted Martin '87.
As executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil-rights organization, Ted Martin ’87 runs into his share of controversy.
He’s had plenty of experience, however, in finding common ground with those who disagree with him. The former political-science major began his career as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives and has focused on communications and outreach ever since.
“I’ve always been a firm believer that you have to be willing to talk with people, have real conversations,” Martin says. “You have to understand that not everything you hear will be exactly what you want to hear.”
Martin has been involved with LGBT issues in central Pennsylvania since the mid-’90s. In 2004, he became president of Common Roads, the LGBT youth organization, and in 2008, of the LGBT Community Center Coalition.
In addition to working toward marriage equality, Martin is focused on anti-discrimination and anti-bullying legislation. “It is still quite legal in Pennsylvania to be fired if you’re gay,” he explains. “I’ve always been political, willing to take stands. It was a natural progression for me to speak out on these issues. … Being gay is the central part of my life; it’s not some part you turn off and on. It’s who I am.”