Rand Hoch – Palm Beach County Gay Rights Activist

Rand Hoch, Florida's first openly gay judicial appointee (by Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1992), never understood why the law firm that offered him a job shortly out of law school, rescinded the offer when they learned he was gay. 

“I never made much of being gay,” Hoch said. “I assumed they knew who I was and that they were ok with it.”

The injustice left him sad and angry: sad that people could discriminate against gay people and angry that they could get away with it.

“I knew something had to be done,” he said. “But no one was doing it so it was up to me.”

Hoch founded the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council PBCHRC in 1988. The goal of the organization is civil equality for everyone.

Hoch’s methodology is to knock on doors, self-identify as a gay man and ask elected and appointed officials to protect people like himself from discrimination in employment, in housing and wherever else it appears.

It works. Hoch and the PBCHRC have made Palm Beach County one of the most progressive in the country in providing human rights and civil protections for all.

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