Staff Spotlight: Angela Dallara On Her Path to Working for LGBTQ Non-Discrimination

By Shane Stahl • December 11, 2017 • 9:13 am

Editors’ Note: This Q&A is the first in a new series of posts that will be appearing regularly on the Freedom For All Americans blog – “Staff Spotlights.” These posts will let you know more about who is on our team beyond their job titles and professional qualifications, and why we’re each committed to the important work of securing nondiscrimination for all.

First up in our Staff Spotlights is Angela Dallara, the Director of Media Relations for Freedom For All Americans. In her role, Angela works with reporters and media outlets to secure coverage for the work FFAA does both federally and at the state level, among many other responsibilities.

FFAA: Tell us a bit about yourself!

Angela Dallara: I’m proud to say I am doing exactly what I always wanted to — I know how rare that is. I knew I wanted to make the world a better place and work at organizations that specifically improve the lives of women and/or LGBTQ people. I have the privilege of meeting and working everyday with people who are my personal heroes, whose work I’ve often followed prior to my professional career, and who I deeply admire.

LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections are a fundamental part of America’s promise. Being able to live freely, safely, and as our authentic selves is essential to being able to fulfill our dreams. – Angela Dallara

How did you get involved in the movement for LGBTQ non-discrimination?

LGBTQ equality is personal for me because I’m bisexual. To me, it’s nonsensical that I could date a man and enjoy all the privileges a straight person has but face discrimination if I date someone nonconforming or of the same sex. I also feel passionately about transgender issues. If someone told me I couldn’t be my most authentic self because of the sex I was assigned at birth, it would be heartbreaking. Watching transgender women struggle to be accepted for who they are is infuriating. All our lives, women are taught that we are less because of our bodies. There’s nothing more sexist to me than seeing transgender people reduced to their body parts.

Is there a particular moment you’ve experienced in your work that sticks with you? Why?

I will never forget witnessing the first marriages for same-sex couples in New York in 2011. I spent the following four years at Freedom to Marry and was there to help win and celebrate the national marriage victory.

I spend most of my life in queer spaces – my best friends are queer, I surround myself with queer events and queer-owned businesses, and I work everyday in the LGBTQ movement – but bisexual people lack community spaces, visibility, and a universal understanding of what it means to be bisexual, despite bisexuals making up the largest percentage of LGBTQ people. Representing FFAA at #BiWeek events in Washington, DC in 2016 was the first time I was ever part of a space in which the default identity was bisexual – a space full of people like me. I found tremendous solidarity in a community that I never realized I was aching for, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

Finally, I’ll never forget passing the transgender public accommodations bill in Massachusetts in 2016 and all the people I met and worked with who profoundly and emotionally thanked us at FFAA and Freedom for All Massachusetts for making their lives safer and happier.

What would you say to people who want to take action for LGBTQ equality? What are simple steps they can take?

Never be complacent. I live in New York City, and it’s easy for me to hide in the city’s bubble of liberals, but that’s not going to change the world. Surrounding yourself with people who always think like you isn’t challenging, and it limits your perspective. Find a cause or organization you believe in, and support it the best way you can.

Why does non-discrimination matter to you?

LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections are a fundamental part of America’s promise. Being able to live freely, safely, and as our authentic selves is essential to being able to fulfill our dreams.

Self-care is important in these times when horrible and unpleasant things are said and done regarding LGBTQ rights – what kind of self-care do you practice?

It’s important to take a break from work, from the news, and from activism. The world can be overwhelming, but we deserve to take time for ourselves and to enjoy our lives without feeling guilty for it. Without self-care, you can’t be the best activist you want to be. For me, self-care means reading good books, working out, learning new things, and meeting new people.

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