Donna Hitchens was the United States’ first openly lesbian elected judge and the founder of the National Center for Lesbian
Rights (NCLR). Hitchens graduated from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1977, and founded
the organization that became the NCLR immediately afterward. Initially focused solely on issues of concern to lesbians – including
custody, adoption, and employment – it now represents gay, bisexual, and transgender clients as well. In 1990, Hitchens was
elected to the San Francisco Superior Court, and in 2002 she became its Presiding Judge. She retired from the bench in 2010.