Nathaniel Frank is an author, historian, commentator, and LGBTQ strategist whose latest book, Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America (Harvard University Press, April 2017), is the first full-scale history of the marriage equality movement in the United States. Currently the director of the What We Know Project, a research initiative at Cornell University's Center for the Study of Inequality that collects scholarship on LGBTQ public policy, he is best known for his work helping to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy after writing the critically acclaimed Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, which won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award for non-fiction.
A frequent contributor to Slate, Nathaniel has also published in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer, his hometown newspaper.
Nathaniel is an internationally recognized authority on LGBTQ equality and public policy. For nearly twenty years, he has been a consulting research and communications strategist for LGBTQ organizations, including the Palm Center and the Movement Advancement Project. In 2010, the year “don’t ask, don’t tell” ended, he served as an expert witness in two successful Constitutional challenges to the law in federal courts, and sat down with President Obama in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the policy weeks before it ended.
A sought-after on-air personality, Nathaniel has been interviewed on numerous television and radio programs, including “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Good Morning America,” the “CBS Evening News,” NPR’s “Fresh Air,” as well as Logo, the BBC, the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, National Review and more. His publications on gays in the military and other topics have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, New York Magazine, Slate, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Lingua Franca and others.
Nathaniel has spoken at West Point Military Academy, National Press Club, Center for American Progress, University of Pennsylvania, University of Nebraska, McCormick Freedom Museum, Boston College, the Smithsonian and elsewhere. His research and opinions have been cited on the Congressional floor, in syndicated columns, college syllabi, and throughout the blogosphere.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Nathaniel attended Northwestern University and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at Brown University. He lives with his husband and their dog in Brooklyn.