Midge Costanza died of cancer on Tuesday.
As an assistant to President Jimmy Carter, Costanza arranged the first meeting between a gay and lesbian group and the White House. The historic meeting between the presidential assistant and Jean O’Leary and Bruce Voeller, the co-executive directors of the National Gay Task Force (now NGLTF), took place on March 26, 1977. The meeting was followed by right-wing calls for her resignation.
At another controversial event, she gathered 30 women to a White House meeting to protest Carter’s opposition to providing federal money to poor women seeking abortions.
Constanza was the first woman in history to hold the title Assistant to the President. More recently she has worked for California Sen. Barbara Boxer and California Gov. Grey Davis.
More about this pioneering ally to the LGBT community in her New York Times obituary.