Janice Wilson was appointed Judge to an Oregon District Court in March of 1991 by Governor Barbara Roberts. Janice was openly lesbian at the time of her appointment. Her sexual orientation was even discussed in the press.
Janice faced her first election to retain the seat in the 1992 Oregon May primary. Because it was a non-partisan race and because she won a majority, she at that point became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Oregon public office. This is particularly impressive considering it was the same year as the state’s notoriously anti-gay Ballot Measure 9.
Janice was appointed to the Multnomah County Circuit Court in 1994 and won the election to retain that seat the same year. She was reelected in 2000, 2006, and 2012. She retired on February 1, 2013.
While many other openly LGBTQ Oregonians have since held public office in Oregon, Janice deserves credit for her courage in being the first.
Gregg Moreland is a gay man who is one of the most committed people in Oregon’s LGBTQ movement. Much of his work has been through the local HRC Oregon and SW Washington. But Gregg has collaborated with Basic Rights Oregon as well, even using his birthday as an opportunity to raise money for them. Gregg has also done an enormous amount of work on the campaigns of pro-LGBTQ candidates.
In addition to his Volunteer Engagement role at HRC Portland Steering Committee now (as well as six years ago), Gregg was Political and Community Outreach Co-chair for the years in between. He is just beginning his second term as vice chair of the LGBT caucus for the Democratic Party of Oregon. Gregg is the President of the interim board of directors for Queer Intersections Portland. Earlier this year, he worked and testified in support of HB 2307 to ban conversion therapy. Gregg has volunteered for the Merkley U.S. Senatorial campaign both times. Gregg’s efforts in support of the Measure 88 and the marriage campaigns have included training signature gatherers. He was active in media blogs and newspaper op-eds in Salem, but he has since moved to Portland.
Stephen Manning is an openly gay attorney who specializes in immigration rights. He was nominated as a Queer Hero specifically for his work in securing residency status for both a gay man and a lesbian, each of whom had same gender spouses who were citizens, following the ruling that invalidated part of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
But the Queer Heroes story goes a bit deeper. Stephen received the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship of Equity Foundation for 1999-2000, so there’s some history at work here.
Bill and Ann Shepherd were honored as Queer Heroes in 2012, as co-founders of PFLAG Portland in the mid-1970s. About 20 years later, Jeff Rose, Mr. Oregon Leather of 1993, decided as his stepping-down to honor the Shepherds by creating a scholarship fund for law students dedicated to LGBTQ justice. Jeff Rose was a Queer Hero in 2014. This year, Queer Heroes NW honors somebody who benefited from the scholarship that was created to honor the Shepherds.
Stephen is recognized for his intellect, commitment, resourcefulness, thoroughness, and willingness to do his homework. He works to bring due process to immigrants who otherwise would have no legal representation. Part of the work involves Federal lawsuits and appeals, and the rest is general immigration practice–challenging deportation orders, helping domestic-abuse victims stay in the United States, advocating for families that might be split, and aiding people seeking asylum.
He still finds time to help with fundraising for future Shepherd Scholarships.