Shawn Gaylord is a principal in Raben's Issue Campaigns and Government Affairs & Policy Counsel practice areas. Shawn has more than two decades of LGBTQ advocacy at the state, federal, and international levels, using that experience to help advise his clients on how to build successful campaigns and coalitions, manage internal teams, and advance legislation to make an impact.
Before joining Raben, Shawn served as the executive director of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. He worked with Caucus leadership, House leadership, committees, and advocacy groups to promote House action on LGBTQ+ issues. During his tenure, the Caucus membership expanded to historic numbers, and the Caucus was active in moving several bills to the president’s desk, including the No HATE Act and the Pulse Nightclub Memorial Bill.
Shawn has served in a number of leadership positions in the movement for LGBTQ human rights. For nine years, he worked with GLSEN, leading Chapter engagement and serving as Director of Public Policy, where he drove movement on legislation at the federal and state levels and greatly expanded a national coalition to support LGBTQ students. At Human Rights First, he created and led an international LGBTQ rights campaign with a focus on the former Soviet states. In this role, he traveled to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, meeting with LGBTQ activists and U.S. in-country staff to develop and pursue recommendations that helped position the U.S. as playing a leadership role in improving the lives of LGBTQ people worldwide. Shawn began his career with Amnesty International, where he helped ensure that LGBTQ issues became an integral part of the organization’s work and led efforts on the death penalty, police brutality, and refugee and immigration issues.
Shawn is a long-time resident of Washington, D.C. In 2020, he and his husband became “pandemic homeowners” and now split their time between Adams Morgan and Lusby, Maryland.