Leonard P. "Len" Hirsch|
(1956 - June 12, 2015) U.S.A.
Founder of GLOBE, activist
Len was born and raised in Queens, N.Y. Len graduated from Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens before starting at Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he received a bachelor's degree in International Relations in 1976. He received both a master's degree in 1978 and his Ph.D. in 1980 in political science at Northwestern University in Chicago.
After completing his doctorate degree Hirsh landed a teaching job at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he helped start an LGBT faculty organization, he was named one the of group's LGBT Pioneers. During the 1984 annual conference of the American Political Science Association, Len helped organize the first meeting of what became the association's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus.
Len moved to D.C. in 1985 to join his partner, Kristian Fauchald, whom he met in 1983. Kristian, a marine biologist, began a 35-year career at the Smithsonian in 1979, where he conducted research at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. During their years together in Washington, Len and Kristian became domestic partners in 2001 and married in 2008 in California. The couple's 32-year relationship ended when Kristian died at the age of 79.
Len has been credited with playing a key role in bringing together scientists and public policy makers in his role as senior policy adviser at the Smithsonian's Office of International Relations and the Office of the Under Secretary for Science from 1988 to 2014. He helped to found the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), an international data gathering operation that allows anyone, anywhere to access data about all types of life on earth, shared across national boundaries via the Internet.
Len represented the Smithsonian before national and international meetings and organizations, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, a group founded by a 1992 international agreement on conservation of natural resources. In 1988 he organized the first meeting of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees of the U.S. government that became known as Federal GLOBE. It happened during his first year working at the Smithsonian. A short time later he was elected president of Federal GLOBE, a position he held for more than 10 years.
Len Hirsch, a senior policy adviser at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington for 26 years and founder of the organization representing LGBT employees of the federal government known as Federal GLOBE, died of cancer at the National Institutes of Health Hospital in Bethesda, Md. He was 59.