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On February 20, Richard Grenell was appointed Acting Director of National Intelligence, becoming the first openly gay DNI and cabinet member in American history. Not long ago, these words would have been an impossibility.

For decades, federal law made it so that no amount of education, experience, or intellect could brighten the tarnish of homosexuality in the security clearance process — the gateway into the Intelligence Community. A landmark Executive Order in 1995 set the gears in motion for Grenell to ascend as Acting DNI 25 years later. What would generally be an individual achievement became a benchmark of progress for the U.S. LGBTQ+ community of an estimated 14.8 million. In a Q&A with Grenell, the former Acting DNI shared what it means to be a first, personal moments of pride, and the power of allies.

 

Published in News Articles 2020