Friday, February 20, 2009

The perfect storm

We've had so much going on in Charlotte the last two weeks, I call it the perfect storm.

There is a Love Won Out Conference taking place in Charlotte Saturday Feb. 21st, perhaps not coincidentally, the day of the HRC dinner.

Essentially, Love Won Out is a proponent of gay reparative therapy and is sponsored by Focus On The Family. Logic says if they think they can rehab our gay friends, they can do the same for/to transgender people. I have a good friend who was victim of a of this therapy. She has a powerful story to tell. Needless to say, reparative therapy does not work any more than you can change your eye color.

Last night at our Lesbian & Gay Community Center, Wayne Besen, director of Truth Wins Out gave a presentation. You can view their website here.

Truth Wins Out gives the other side of the story, the simple fact that people are created to be who they are. I had been discussing an interview with Fox News to take place during the next two weeks. They came by The Center prior to the presentation last night for a brief interview. My point always is that it's okay to be who you are, no matter who you are. Why would anyone choose a lifetime of hiding their true self everyday with the constant fear of being outed and losing family, friends and job? It would not be logical.

Charlotte Rainbow Action Network For Equality (CRANE) has organized a peaceful, silent demonstration Saturday morning in front of the church where the Love Won Out Conference is taking place.

I was invited to a press conference this morning, along with several pastors and community leaders to share our personal story. For me personally, my faith comes before anything else. I realized long ago that if I consider myself a Christian first and a transsexual second, everything that is right for me will happen. That has always been true and I could not imagine myself living a more satisfying life than I do, even though it seems to get more amazing as time passes.

Saturday will be a busy day. We have the demonstration at the church at 11:30 AM. At 5 PM, I will join another peaceful demonstration at Westin Hotel across from The Charlotte Convention Center where most of the HRC guests will be staying. This is organized by Janice Allison.

The purpose is to show our displeasure with HRC for joining Barney Frank in the fall of 2007 in backing a version of ENDA that was not transgender inclusive. The remarks Mr. Solmonese made at the dinner Feb. 9 in New York City are in my post of several days ago. One word that comes to mind is 'malarky'.

When I think of those remarks, the firing of Ms. Luckey by the City of Charlotte, along with my own situation, which is very personal, as well as friends who are under and unemployed, I did not hesitate to join this demonstration. My doing this will surprise some transgender friends, I'm sure.

I will attend the HRC dinner as a board member of Sean's Last Wish. Even with the issues over ENDA, attending with Elke and the other board members was never in question. I like to think my life is defined by more than being a transgender woman. There a host of other things we all do in life.

Saturday will be a busy day, two demonstrations and a formal banquet followed by networking at the lounge in the Westin later, all without a nap, as I told someone.

I want to mention again the denial of Stephen Moller's parole last week. I had the honor of being in the hearing room with Elke and the family. It was one of the more emotional experiences I have had. Elke was allowed to speak. She did so with eloquence and strength as always. She has been a source of a lot of my strength as I have often said.

Below are several photos of the candlelight vigil on the steps of the State Capitol in Columbia, SC and outside the morning of the hearing. You can click on the photos to enlarge.

We had a silent vigil outside the building where the hearing was held at 7:30 AM Wednesday February 11th. Leslie and others were making signs.

After the parole was denied, Elke spent most of the day speaking with the media.

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