Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defender
When Mary Bonauto was awarded a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, otherwise known as “the Genius Award,” the GLBT community heaved a collective “duh!” Not since Harvey Milk has one individual made such an enduring impact on the community, nor have there been many individuals who have established true hero status at any time in the past few decades.
But Bonauto rates. Beginning with her groundbreaking work to pass the nation’s first civil unions law, in Vermont, in 1999, to her role as lead counsel in the groundbreaking case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could legally marry in 2004, Bonauto established a cadence of success. More recently, she led GLAD’s federal court challenges to DOMA in Gill and Pedersen, leading to the first District Court and Court of Appeals victories against DOMA—and the state laws against gay marriage have come tumbling down. At press time, 35 states now allow gays to marry, thanks in large part to Bonauto.
Charmingly, she eschews the praise. “I see power as the ability to make changes, and that means power lies far more in the hands of the larger LGBT community than with any individual,” she says, never forgetting to credit her colleagues at GLAD. “Together, and with allies, we have accomplished so much over these many years.”
And, she says, there’s much more to do to help those who continue to be vulnerable—elders, young people, families, those who live in rural areas. “New England can continue leading the way of what equality and justice look like.”
Stephen L. Boswell, MD, FACP
President and Chief Executive Officer of Fenway Health
30 years ago, if you were diagnosed with AIDS, you were likely going to die. That was the conventional wisdom among a terrified gay community, which would soon be decimated by that foregone conclusion.
For more than two decades, Fenway Health has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS care and research, and, since 1994, Stephen L. Boswell, MD, FACP, has been on hand as a physician, administrator, clinical researcher and key opinion leader representing and caring for the LGBTQ community in Boston, and New England.
“My work has been driven by a desire to help build a stronger LGBTQ community by building needed infrastructure that addresses our health and other associated needs such as those that arise from violence, homelessness, homophobia, transphobia, HIV/AIDS, and aging,” says Boswell. “I try to use what influence I have to accomplish this goal.” And what influence! The former head of HIV Clinical Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boswell served as Fenway Medical Director prior to assuming his current role of President & CEO in 1997.
In addition to his responsibilities at Fenway, today he serves as an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and holds joint appointments in the General Medicine Unit and Infectious Diseases Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital.
A past member of President Clinton’s Council on HIV/AIDS, Boswell has also served as Treasurer and Vice-Chair of the American Academy of HIV Medicine, and currently as a member of the Board of Directors of the HIV Medicine Association. He is also a researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health who serves as the Principal Investigator of several Fenway/Harvard research projects focused on HIV/AIDS.
“At Fenway, we are focused on enhancing our understanding of the health of those who are LGBTQ, teaching others how to improve their care to those who are LGBTQ, and advocating for policies that support the overall health of our community,” says Boswell.
Perhaps most important, he is a husband (to John Neale). The pair have been together for, that’s right, 30 years.