About EqualityMaine

A group of volunteers and Equality Maine Team members at a parade.
Two people pointing at the Equality Maine logo on the back of a Maine Celtics #35 jersey.
A group of adult counselors smiling at the New Leaders Project

EqualityMaine is the oldest and largest statewide organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Mainers. 

Our mission is to protect and advance full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Mainers by creating an inclusive and intersectional movement through political action, community building, education, engagement and collaboration. We envision the day when all LGBTQ+ Mainers and their families are empowered and have full equality in the hearts and minds of Maine people.

A group of eight people smiling with an Equality Maine photo backdrop behind them.

Our Guiding Values


Maine’s LGBTQ+ community is vibrant and diverse; our members are older folks, immigrants, youth, parents, transgender and gender non-conforming, residents of rural townships and cities, students, and are from all economic levels. EqualityMaine strives to represent the needs and interests of our whole community. All voices are important to achieving our mission.


Changing the hearts and minds of Maine people and providing valuable learning opportunities on LGBTQ+ issues are two of our major strengths. We believe in the power of education to support and advance our community.

Working in coalition and with the participation of other progressive organizations is key to our success. We believe in the central role of collaboration as an organizing tool, as well as a guiding principle for all of our programs. Through collaboration, we seek to grow the skills, capacity and power of our partners and our organization so that our work leaves behind a broader, stronger movement.

EqualityMaine recognizes the importance of harnessing our community’s political power to achieve greater and more comprehensive protections for all members of our community. We will continue to strive for the empowerment of our community members, as well as policies that protect and secure our community.

Learn more about the work we do.

We think you’ll love our team just as much as we do.

We have pride in our history.

July 1984

EqualityMaine is founded

EqualityMaine was first known as the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance (MLGPA). The group was founded in response to the July 1984 murder of Charlie Howard, a young Bangor man who was attacked and murdered simply because he was gay.

MLGPA began with an ambitious desire for full equality, but as a practical matter, it had a humble start. A band of volunteers went to work with $147 that they’d raised by setting up a table at a local autumn festival.
MLGPA’s founding documents were handwritten in a spiral notebook, along with a to-do list of “Nitty-Gritties: checking account, P.O. box fee.”

In the mid-1980s Maine – like many other states – was just starting to engage in new conversations about fairness and equality.


MLGPA released a survey

that measured the impact of violence and discrimination in LGBTQ+ Mainers’ lives. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they had concealed their sexual orientation in order to avoid discrimination on the job; almost 30 percent had been fired or denied promotions because their bosses learned they were gay. Almost one-quarter of respondents had been denied service in a hotel or restaurant, and 54 percent had been victims of violence motivated by their sexual orientation.

Clearly, the need for non-discrimination protections was real and urgent.


The Joel Abromson Memorial Scholarship Fund was created

Since 1992, EqualityMaine Foundation’s Joel Abromson Memorial Scholarship Fund has given more than $20,000 in scholarships to young champions of equality, supporting a new generation of grassroots leadership in Maine.


The Maine Civil Rights Act was amended

For two decades MLGPA worked to build support for legislation that would protect LGBTQ+ Mainers from discrimination, and to include attacks on LGBT citizens under the state’s definition of hate crimes. EqualityMaine helped draft, lobby and pass legislation that amended the Maine Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ+ people from hate crimes.


Same-sex couples got the same hospital visitation rights as married couples and immediately family


Legislative win!

Legislation requiring insurance providers in Maine to provide health care policies that include domestic partnership coverage to employers that request it is passed after EqualityMaine helped draft, lobby, and pass.


MLGPA changed its name to EqualityMaine

November 8, 2005

The Human Rights Act was amended

After nearly three decades of working to pass non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Mainers, Maine became the 16th state to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression in employment, housing, education, credit and public accommodations. Maine is the sixth state whose law includes gender identity and expression.