James Hormel

Heir to the SPAM Meatpacking fortune, James Hormel is an activist and philanthropist. Hormel has twice served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and in 1992, he participated in the party’s platform committee. Hormel was a US delegate to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1995 and the UN General Assembly in 1996. Following brutal resistance from right-wing senators and religious extremists, Hormel became the United States’ first openly gay ambassador in 1999. 

Among many charitable endeavors, Hormel helped found the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s most influential LGBT lobby; One of four San Francisco Public Library Gay and Lesbian Centers is named for him; He has been on Swarthmore College’s board of managers for 18 years; and is a member of the University of Chicago Law School Visiting Committee. Through the course of his career, Hormel has supported dozens of non-profits and advocacy groups, as well as cultural organizations including San Francisco’s ballet and symphony. 


Published work

Fit to Serve: Reflections on a Secret Life, Private Struggle, and Public Battle to Become the First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador (Skyhorse, November 2011)