Mandy Carter



Mandy Carter (November 2, 1948) was raised in two orphanages and foster care and attended Hudson Valley Community College.

Worked with War Resister's League, beginning c. 1969; North Carolina Lesbian and Gay Pride marches, served on planning committees, 1986-91; March on Washington for Lesbians and Gays, national steering committee, 1987, 1993; Rhythm Fest (musical festival for southern women), co-producer; North Carolina Senate Vote '90 and North Carolina Mobilization '96 (initiatives to defeat N.C. senator Jesse Helms), director; Our Own Place (a lesbian center), founding member; UMOJA (black gay and lesbian organization), founding member; Stonewall 25, executive committee; Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum, board of governors; Human Rights Campaign Fund, board of directors; member-at-large of the Democratic National Committee, serving on both the DNC Gay and Lesbian Caucus and DNC Black Caucus; member of the boards of the International Federation of Black Prides, the National Stonewall Democratic Federation, the Triangle Foundation, Equal Partners in Faith and Ladyslipper Music.

"Prejudice is prejudice!," proclaimed Mandy Carter in an interview with Contemporary Black Biography (CBB), "whether it is based on skin color or sexual orientation. She came out as a lesbian in 1969. Carter has kept mum about specific relationships in interviews, she allowed to CBB that she first came out about her sexuality to her War Resister's League (WRL) comrades in 1969; she said, "I wanted them to know that I was a lesbian."Several people Carter cites as inspirations gained prominence during those tumultuous days of the 1960s, among them singer Joan Baez, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and two women she met in the WRL, Irma Zigas and Norma Becker, who she said "showed that women can be dynamic leaders." Still, Carter has long disdained any idea of separatism. "Mainstream electoral politics do matter," she insisted to CBB. "While we are waiting for something better to come along to replace our two-party system, what we now have keeps rolling along whether we--blacks, gays, and lesbians--are there or not. If we want to impact change electorally then we must be at the table no matter how uncomfortable it is." Understanding that blacks and gays have long been set against one another in mainstream politics, Carter has set about making her mark.

Carter’s awards include the North Carolina Lesbian and Gay Pride Community Service Award, 1990; Peace Award, War Resister's League, 1993; Distinguished National Service Award, Gay and Lesbian Attorneys of Washington, D.C., 1993; Mab Segrest Award, North Carolinians Against Religious and Racist Violence (NCARRV); Humanitarian Award, North Carolina Independent; Bayard Rustin Award for Political Activism (1999).