Bil Browning

Exclusive: NGLTF Deputy Executive Director Darlene Nipper on mental illness and other queer issues

Filed By Bil Browning | February 04, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: bipolar, Darlene Nipper, NAMI, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Institute of Mental Illness, NGLTF

It was my honor to interview Rev Darlene Nipper, NGLTF's new Deputy Executive Director, at the Creating Change conference. Darlene has a prestigious background both in and outside of the LGBT movement. From her bio on the NGLTF site:

She has held leadership positions in the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors, including the city government of Washington, D.C.; Black Entertainment Television (BET) Foundation; the National Mental Health Association; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), where she served as chief operating officer.

Nipper has an extensive background as a health advocate, working with those affected by HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental illness and other health issues. As senior director and then-vice president of public education for the National Mental Health Association, Nipper managed programs that worked with 340 mental health associations across the country.

To me, one of the more interesting aspects of Darlene's career was her work with NAMI. I've mentioned before that I'm bipolar, but mental illness is one of the many aspects of LGBT life that no one ever wants to mention. A lot of time we (as a community) seem to be so damned interested in assimilating into straight culture and being the best little people we can be, that untidiness like disabilities, addictions, etc are swept under the rug.

I talked quite a bit with Darlene about the LGBT community and mental illness - including her promise to ensure that the topic is on the table at the next Creating Change conference. The video is broken up into two segments - both after the jump.

Darlene Nipper interview Part 1

Darlene Nipper interview Part 2

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Nothing here that in any way raises my low opinion of NGLTF.

Bil, sorry it's taken me so long to comment on this wonderful interview. Thanks for all of your personal courage in being upfront about being bipolar. Cindy