Bryan Dalton ’81 knew early on that he wanted a career abroad. His family moved to Manchester, Vermont from California in 1972 when he was in fourth grade. At Burr and Burton, Bryan found that his talent and interest lay in “the power of language,” encouraged by Harvey Dorfman in English, and the strong world language department. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1985 and served as an intern with the non-governmental organization Africare in Niamey, Niger. After a year’s stint as a temp worker living with his parents, from 1987-2015 Bryan was a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department, serving in Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Washington DC (first in the Africa Bureau, later dealing with international parental child abductions), New York City (International Visitor Leadership Program), Romania, and India, and in Bulgaria as Deputy Chief of Mission.
Throughout his life and career, Bryan felt the tension of what he called a cloud of not being able to be yourself, navigating the dicey waters of the early years working for the State Department during a time of secrecy and open hostility that surrounded him and anyone who was gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender non-conforming. In 1991, Bryan was unceremoniously outed by a colleague, which set him on a course of advocacy for equal rights for LGBTQ personnel in the U.S. State Department. He helped co-found Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies
(GLIFAA) in 1992. As of its 30th anniversary this year, GLIFAA now has more than 1,200 members across a dozen federal agencies addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The history of GLIFAA
describes the first meetings at members’ homes: “Worry hung in the air, as those present knew that the State Department’s security office was investigating personnel thought to be gay and driving them out of government service.”