from the Rainbow History Project’s event program notes
On Thursday, October 4, the Rainbow History Project honored fourteen “Community Pioneers” at an annual reception held at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, DC. Each year several tenacious and creative individuals are recognized for their instrumental roles in creating and sustaining important institutions in the DC LGBT community. The event provides an opportunity for the community to say thank you. Past honorees have included nationally known individuals such as Frank Kameny, Patsy Lynch, Deacon Maccubbin, Eva Freund and Jim Graham. Among this year’s honorees was Dignity/Washington’s own Robert (Bob) Miailovich.
Bob was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended the Graduate School of Business at the University of California (Berkeley) and the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Washington. He worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 1963 to 1996, developing and implementing banking policies and procedures. He was transferred by the agency to Washington, DC in 1975.
Upon his arrival in DC, Bob and a friend obtained a list of gay bars and drove around trying to locate them. “It was outside one of those bars,” Bob says, “that I found a flyer on my car windshield announcing a Dignity/Washington event, and I found what became my main place of activity.”
For many years, Bob has served Dignity/Washington in various significant positions: he began as a bartender at a social event, later was appointed a regional representative and a delegate to the national convention, and in time rose to become Dignity/Washington’s president. Bob went on to serve Dignity on the national level. He became the president of Dignity/USA and, in that position, represented the group on various national religious leadership roundtables and was active in Catholic Organizations for Renewal.
Over the years, Bob has been associated with various other DC LGBT organizations, serving many of them as treasurer and as a member of the Board of Directors. These groups include: the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), New Ways Ministry, DC Different Drummers, the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, and Among Friends. Bob believes that his primary obligation has been to make sure that these groups have sound operational and financial management.
Bob has written about gay (and usually Catholic) events in the Washington Catholic Standard, the Washington Blade, and the New York Times.
Noting that much of his work for Dignity has involved “speeches, dinners, protest marches, awards, receptions, fundraisers, and conferences,” Bob points out that these activities “are all designed to bring people together and to give witness to the righteousness of our cause. I try to be part of that presence.”
For more information about the Rainbow History Project and its Community Pioneers, see their website www.rainbowhistory.org