Terry Bean—Native Oregonian—successful real estate developer—President and CEO of Bean Investment Real Estate, a private company that trades and invests in commercial real estate as well as large residential complexes—Terry Bean is often first recognized as a pioneer in the national civil rights movement, espousing full equality—including marriage equity, for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning communities. (GLBTQ)
Terry Bean is so well regarded as an activist that Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski declared August 23, 2008, to be “Terry Bean Equality Day” in recognition for the work he has done on LGBT rights causes since the 1970’s.
Trailblazing the Gay Rights Movement:
A pioneer in the movement, Terry Bean, started advocating politically for gay rights in the early 1970’s in Eugene, Oregon. Early successes resulted in the passing of a city gay rights ordinance, which, while was later overturned by voters, set the framework for grasswork organizations and strategies which quickly followed—establishing a pattern of victories which have continued well into the new millennium.
In 1979, Bean helped to organize the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the first such highly visible effort to empower a minority while educating a majority.
After the march on Washington, Terry Bean turned his focus to the national level co-founding the Gay Rights National Lobby and the Human Rights Campaign Fund. These groups merged to become today’s Human Rights Campaign – HRC.
In 1991 Bean and Vic Basile founded the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund—for the specific purpose of raising funds to help with the election of highly qualified gay and lesbian candidates. At the founding there were only 49 openly gay elected officials throughout the entire country. By 2007 that number had risen to over 400. As of 2012 no one is actually keeping count any longer as GLBTQ assume roles of leadership that reach across the spectrum of all communities.
Later in 2002, Terry Bean was integral in assisting with the acquisition of the HRC headquarters building in Washington, D.C. Though without some initial controversy this beautiful building has since become an iconic symbol of the strength and endurance of GBLTQ activism. Elizabeth Birch, the former Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign, says of Bean, “He understood that politics needed to be played with votes and money, even though the much more fun stuff was happening on the street.”
Says David Mixner, national political strategist and civil rights activist:
“Terry Bean is always one of those behind the scenes people you rarely hear about—the ones in American politics that get more done than most elected officials. For over thirty years, Terry Bean has unselfishly committed himself to the struggle for human rights. This man has never given up on the fight for LGBT equality. He also has been a participant in every major battle for freedom and justice in his lifetime.”
Highlights of Terry Bean’s list of achievements include:
- Co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT equal rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States.
- Bean has been an active member of HRC’s Board of Directors since it’s formation in 1980.
- Co-founder of the Gay Games, Bean won two gold medals in golf in the first games held in San Francisco in 1982.
- Co-founder of the Oregon Right to Privacy PAC in the early 1980’s
- Co-founder of the Equity Foundation, a Portland, Oregon Oregon philanthropic organization, formed in 1989 to give grants to LGBT community groups and programs.
- Bean has received honors for his human rights work from Basic Rights Oregon, Oregon Right to Privacy PAC and HRC.
In Terry Bean’s Own Words:
In his own words Bean speaks of his past efforts, future goals and why he’ll continue to advocate strongly for GLBTQ candidates and allies/supporters who commit to the cause of civil equality. “People say they don’t care about politics, but I know they care about their friends being fired from their jobs for being gay, I know they care about respect for our relationships, and I know they care about LGBT suicide. I think it’s high time we demand our family and friends and the people closest to us consider our equality when they cast their vote. It is unacceptable for people who say they love us to support those who consistently block our path to justice and the dignity we deserve as Americans. They must be told that continuing to do so is an act of betrayal and will harm our relationships.”
Lest one think that Bean spends all his time with reading glasses perched askew while strategizing political campaigns, you need only ask him of his other personal passions and interests. Watch his face light up as he speaks of his devotion to his Godchildren, University of Oregon Ducks, golf, jet skiing, hiking, movies, theatre, music, and technology—not the least of which is his razor sharp skills with Words for Friends.