Officers and Directors
Charles Francis, President
Charles Francis is a retired public relations and public affairs consultant who has worked for the largest public affairs firms and their clients worldwide. He lives in Washington, D.C. and Homer, Alaska. He began his career in public affairs as a speechwriter and public relations officer at The Chase Manhattan Bank in New York where he worked as a speechwriter and media relations spokesman for the bank and Chase Chairman David Rockefeller. Over the course of his career, Francis served as a consultant to individuals such as Clark Clifford and labor mediator Theodore Kheel and for companies including Federal Express, Citicorp and, for twenty years, the Public Affairs Division of Exxon Corporation and ExxonMobil. He founded the now-defunct Republican Unity Coalition with Senator Alan K. Simpson as Honorary Chairman, and with President Gerald Ford and David Rockefeller serving on the group’s Advisory Board. With Senator Simpson as Chairman, Francis served for ten years as a Trustee of The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. A self-described “archive activist”, in 2006 Francis co-founded The Kameny Papers Project which donated the papers and historic artifacts of gay civil rights pioneer Dr. Franklin E. Kameny to the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. As President of the Mattachine Society, Francis served as Personal Representative for lesbian civil rights pioneer Lilli Vincenz spearheading the donation of her papers and documentary films to the Library of Congress. Mattachine archival projects included groundbreaking research on the federal St. Elizabeths Hospital (for the Insane) and its experimental treatments on LGBT patients committed there for a “cure” (“Asylum Seekers”, “Washington City Paper”, 6/8/18). Francis, his colleague Pate Felts and the work of the Mattachine Society are the subject of a chapter entitled “Digging Up a Painful Past: Archive Activism” in “The Case for Gay Reparations” by Omar Encarnacion (2021, Oxford University Press). Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Francis donated his papers relating to President George W. Bush and the Bush “compassionate conservative” campaign to the University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History.
He is the author of “Freedom Summer Homos, An Archive Story” excavating the 1964 Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission investigation and exposure of “homo” students and faculty members at the HBCU Rust College, published by “The American Historical Review”, Oxford University Press.
Pate Felts, Co-founder and Chief Financial Officer
Pate Felts is co-founder and chief financial officer of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. He is a certified public accountant and has served as CFO for a major consulting firm in Washington. Felts has also served as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative, and was Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator David Pryor (ret.-Ark). Raised in a small farming community in Virginia, Felts brings a unique appreciation for Southern culture and politics to Mattachine’s research, most recently on so-called “conversion therapy” and the “cure” for homosexuality.
Richard Rosendall, Secretary
A free-lance author based in Washington,D.C., Rick Rosendall is a former President of the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance in Washington. He served as an officer of the original Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. and played a key role in The Kameny Papers Project preservation of the papers of Dr. Franklin E. Kameny, donated to the Library of Congress. Rosendall contributes a weekly column for The Washington Blade.
Glenn Simpson, Director
Glenn Simpson is Chief Executive Officer of FusionGPS and former page-one investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Glenn has been the subject of extensive coverage regarding his work on the Trump “Dossier”. Simpson has been a key advisor, on a pro bono basis, to the Mattachine Society on research projects such as former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s infamous “Sex Deviate” program of investigations of homosexuals; and the investigation and firing in 1953 of President Eisenhower’s close friend and inner circle aid Arthur Vandenberg, Jr.
Simpson is co-author of “Crime In Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump” (Random House, 2019).
Pro Bono Legal Counsel
The international law firm McDermott Will & Emery, LLC has provided the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. with pro bono legal services, in a unique partnership beginning in 2011, ranging from assistance with ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to serving as Counsel on the lawsuit Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. v U.S. Department of Justice in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The McDermott law firm wrote Mattachine’s same-sex marriage amicus brief in Obergefell v. Hodges. With Mattachine research, McDermott attorneys led by Lisa Linsky drafted the white paper, “The Pernicious Myth of Conversion Therapy“. McDermott partners Lisa Linsky and Paul Thompson lead a team of nineteen Associates and Partners who focus on developing the “evidentiary history” of federal and state animus toward LGBT Americans.
Vic Basile, LGBT rights activist and political consultant, the first Executive Director of HRC (1983-1989), co-founder of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund; and Counsel to the Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Eric Cervini, award winning historian, Pulitzer Prize Finalist author of “The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. The United States, a history of Frank Kameny and the original Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. (FS&G, 2020). Gates Scholar and Cambridge Historian, graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2014 with an A.B. in History; his dissertation was on the original Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.
Garrard Conley is author of the memoir “Boy Erased” (2016, Penguin), made into a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. He is now at work on a forthcoming queer historical fiction novel based in the 18th century (Penguin, 2020). Raised in rural Arkansas, he lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing at Kennessaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Conley discusses his sense of history— and Mattachine— in this video entitled “Mattachine and Me“.
V.L. Cox is a professional artist of 25 years whose work is rooted in projects that involve human rights issues and equality. Her art installation “Break Glass–A conversation to end hate”, was exhibited at the Longwood Center for Visual Arts and opens this year at the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas. She has created large backdrops for organizations including the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Ballet, Los Colinas Film Studios, and the National Civil Rights Museum Humanities Awards in Memphis, Tennessee. Her work reflects her own personal experiences growing up in Arkansas.
David K. Johnson, Associate Professor, University of South Florida is the author of The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government, made into a documentary directed by Josh Howard, entitled “The Lavender Scare”. Johnson’s latest book is “Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement (Columbia University Press, 2019).
Bill Murat served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin. He served as Senator Baldwin’s Chief of Staff in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives since 2000. Prior to his work in Congress, Bill served two terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly and served for eight years as a Wisconsin prosecutor, including two terms as an elected District Attorney.
Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court marriage equality case Obergefell v. Holdges, shares with us his passionate interest in American history and LGBT “archive activism”.
Ned Price is Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State. He is a former CIA analyst and National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson in the Obama Administration.
Aubrey Sarvis, attorney, former Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the Senate Commerce Committee; Executive Vice President, Public Policy, Verizon Communications; and Executive Director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).
Joe Stewart is chairman of the Congressional Education Foundation. Stewart was Secretary of the Senate from 1987 to 1994, serving as the Chief Administrative and Financial Officer of the Senate. A friend, staffer and devoted colleague of Senator Robert C. Byrd, Stewart worked closely with the Senator on his award-winning four volume history of the Senate: The Senate: 1789-1989: Addresses on the History of the Senate.
Jeff Trammell is the former Rector (Chair) of the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary and a leader in LGBT policy, politics and public service in Washington, D.C. Trammell has played a key role in the Presidential campaigns of Vice President Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, as well as serving as Chairman of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. Jeff has served as a public affairs advisor to numerous Fortune 500 Companies. An attorney and member of the Florida Bar, Trammell served as counsel to the House Energy & Commerce Committee. With a passion for the importance of LGBT history, Trammell served on the Board of the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Gay & Lesbian Victims Remembrance Project. The former Rector of William & Mary writes here about the glass ceiling for gay Presidencies of American colleges and universities.
John Weinfurter is currently a partner in the government affairs firm Capstone National Partners and serves as President of the House Chiefs of Staff Alumni Association after a twenty-year career on Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff to the late U.S. Representative Joe Moakley (D-MA). He served as President and CEO of the Congressional Economic Leadership Institute (CELI) and Vice President, Government Relations for Witt O’Brien Consulting.