South Carolina Equality Announces New Executive Director -- After National Search, Local LGBT Advocate, Ryan Wilson Selected

October 21, 2012

South Carolina Equality, the state's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political advocacy and civil rights organization, is pleased to announce that Ryan Wilson of Columbia has been appointed as the Executive Director beginning on November 1.

Ryan comes to SC Equality after having served as the President of both South Carolina Pride and the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center. He served five years on the board of South Carolina Pride, with two years as President. During his time at SC Pride the attendance grew from 5,000 to over 8,000, along with increased sponsorship and grant funding. Most recently, Ryan has served as the President of the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center in Columbia, where he has doubled its operational budget in just one year through new grants, as well as increasing its programming for glbt South Carolinians.

Originally from Baltimore Maryland, Ryan moved to South Carolina in 2001 to attend Clemson University.  While a student, he served as Co-President of the Clemson Gay-Straight Alliance.  In 2005, Ryan moved to Columbia as a graduate student at the University of South Carolina. During this time, he also was the University's Safe Zone Ally Coordinator.

Upon graduation with a Masters of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs, he was employed at USC as the Sexual Health Program Coordinator, overseeing Student Health Services, supervising the Safe Zone Ally program, and providing programming for LGBTQ students.  For the past two years, he has served as Training Coordinator for the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a statewide non-profit that supports organizations serving our state's youth, where he has managed several grant funded projects.

Jeff Ayers, Chair of the SC Equality Board, said "Ryan's strong qualifications and familiarity with the needs of the glbt community in South Carolina make him ready to assume this position.  Our Board is excited about working with him because of his commitment and enthusiasm for the work of securing equal civil and human rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender South Carolinians and their families." 

Wilson remarked that "I'm looking forward to being able to advance SC Equality's important legislative and advocacy work. We have the opportunity help more communities pass non-discrimination ordinances and to see a strong anti-bullying bill enacted by the General Assembly.  I am committed to a South Carolina where equal means everyone."