(FOX 9) - One of Minnesota’s leading organizations for LGBTQ rights is getting new leadership.
Kat Rohn takes over as executive director on Wednesday, May 18. Rohn comes to OutFront Minnesota from the University of Minnesota where she served for six years as a senior development officer and one of its peer facilitators on gender equity.
"I took this job because it was really a mix of both my professional talents in terms of working with a number of different mission driven organizations, and my own passion for advocacy and work within the LBGTQ community," Rohn told FOX 9.
Advocacy has very much been a part of Rohn’s career wherever she’s been.
Rohn has spent nearly all of her professional life raising funds for higher education institutions. Before joining the University of Minnesota, she held development positions at Grinnell College in Iowa and at Carlton College in Minnesota.
"Advocacy, being someone who’s LGBTQ myself, is just something that’s been infused with my own experiences," Rohn said. "I’ve always tried to advocate for the things that matter to me."
Rohn takes over OutFront after Interim Executive Director Patrick Troska led the organization for the past nine months. One of her immediate goals is to reach out to the LGBTQ community across the state.
"One of the things that I bring from all of my job experience is just knowing I need to listen," Rohn said. "Whether it’s here in the Twin Cities or in Worthington, or Roseau, or Duluth, or wherever it is, because we all need those voices to inform a strategic plan for our organization."
One of Minnesota’s leading organizations for LGBTQ rights is getting new leadership.
OutFront Minnesota has a long history of advocacy for the LGBTQ community. It was a leading voice in the marriage equality movement ten years ago. Additionally, it holds annual youth summits and maintains a lobbying presence at the State Capitol.
But it’s also watching what’s happening in other states such as Florida where the Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis have recently passed a law banning the classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
Supporters of the legislation believe those discussions were more appropriate for parents to have with their children. But Rohn describes the political changes as cultural headwinds.
"We don’t know electorally what will happen here within the state, but we do know that regardless of what happens, there will be work for us to do," Rohn said. "And those conversations whether it’s here, at the Capitol, whether it’s throughout our communities, are ones that can help to support so that we can move these conversations in better directions."
Rohn takes over OutFront just weeks ahead of Pride Month celebrations. This year’s events will mark the first time that the LGBTQ community can fully celebrate after two years of limited events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Community is really central to the LGBTQ folks that I know, and so having that space, that shared time together is really a wonderful celebration," Rohn said.