Ambassador Michael Guest — LGBT History Month Day 13

 

Today’s LGBT History Month icon is U.S. ambassador Michael Guest.

Guest, born October 26, 1957, was the first openly gay Senate-confirmed U.S. ambassador. He was nominated by George W. Bush.

After serving for 26 years, Guest resigned from the State Department due to its discriminatory policies toward same-sex couples.

Biography via Equality Forum:

Born in South Carolina, Guest received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Furman University, and a master’s degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia.

In 1982, Guest joined the State Department as a Foreign Service officer.

During his early career, he was part of a delegation that facilitated the reunification of Germany.

In 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell swore in Guest as ambassador to Romania. At the ceremony, Powell recognized Guest’s life partner, Alex Nevarez.

Advocates expressed hope that this would herald a more inclusive State Department attitude towards LGBT employees and their partners.

Guest’s work in Romania was characterized by condemning corruption, advocating for the rule of law and aiding preparations for Romania’s entry into NATO. When Guest’s ambassadorship ended, Romanian President Ion Iliescu presented him with the Order for Faithful Service in the Rank of Grand Cross.

Guest worked to end the State Department’s denial of benefits for same-sex partners. In his farewell speech, he expressed disappointment with the continued discrimination.

When Barack Obama was elected, Guest served on the State Department’s transition team.

He advised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on discriminatory State Department policies. Secretary Clinton changed the policy to provide equal benefits for same-sex couples.

Guest received the Leadership Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Christian Herter Award for Constructive Dissent from the American Foreign Service Association. He also received the State Department’s Charles E. Cobb Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development, the Meritorious Honor Award, and five Superior Honor Awards.

Guest is the senior advisor and cofounder of the Council for Global Equality. He was married in 2011 by U.S. District Court Judge Joe Gale, who is the first openly gay Senate-confirmed federal judge. Guest and his husband reside in Washington, D.C.

Bibliography:

  • “Bush Appoints Openly Gay Man a U.S. Ambassador to Romania.” Common Dreams. 8 June 2011.
  • “Farewell Speech by Michael E. Guest, Former Ambassador to Romania.” Washington Post. 8 June 2011.
  • “Members of Congress Seek Changes in State Department’s Gay and Lesbian Policies.” Salem News. 8 June 2011.
  • “Michael Guest.”  Facebook. 8 June 2011.
  • “Michael Guest.” Google. 8 June 2011.
  • “Michael Guest, Senior Advisor.” Global Equality. 8 June 2011.

Website:

Image taken from LGBT History Month video no infringement intended.

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10 comments

Winn Adams
Winn Adams4 years ago

Yippeeeeeeeeeee

Joe R.
Joe R.4 years ago

Great series. Thanks Steve W.

Wayne M.
Wayne M.4 years ago

It is good to learn about LGBT people who have been out and open about their sexual orientation and who have made unique contributions to all areas of human endeavour. Certainly, Michael Guest was an active spokesperson against all discrimination and corruption – and proves that LGBT people in places of sensitive state service are not a security risk.

No, LGBT people do not rank ahead of anyone else. However, it is important to tell our whole history and the contributions of all people that make our lives better. This must include LGBT people as well as people in racial, cultural and religious minorities – and yes – including the First Nations of the Americas.

Anne Brabson
Anne B.4 years ago

Thanks, Steve, for highlighting another worthy pioneer!

Allan Yorkowitz
.4 years ago

I didn't know gay people were "ranked" at all....

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

By the way, thanks Steve for the article.

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Bette, nobody ranks above anybody else. Everybody is important, but this month GLBT people are being profiled since this is lgbt history month. Their lives and struggles are just as important and interesting and valid as anybody elses. Your suggestion is a nice one, but maybe you shoud take your suggestion to the Care2 Administrators for consideration.

Bette M.
Bette M.4 years ago

Joan S. I in no way at all hate gays. The vast majority of them are well educated, well mannered & well dressed.
The native American indians have one day out of a year dedicated to them & that is all I was pointing out.

Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.

Joan S.
JC S.4 years ago

Bette I know that the indigenous peoples of the world have been screwed by the "white man". but that's no reason to hate gays as they have been in existence since the dawn of time themselves. There are Native Americans who are gay as well as Gays that are Native American. The thing is we ALL need to be respectful of EVERYBODY. No one likes being discriminated against and until we realize this and equality means that every one is treated equally and fairly no group or person will ever be safe from some kind of condemnation.

Bette M.
Bette M.4 years ago

How about a whole month dedicated to the Native American indian.
Does anyone, anywhere remember them at all?
How do these LGBT people rank above a people who have been
in existence for thousands of years right here in America!!!


Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.