Category: LGBT

RENT at 20: How a Broadway musical made me an activist

RENT at 20: How a Broadway musical made me an activist

I remember it like it was yesterday. June 21, 1996. My mom came home from work and asked me for a favor. Her boss’s son was going to be on TV, and since neither of them knew how to use the VCR to tape something she asked me to do it. Her boss (at the time) is the mother of Gilles Chiasson, one of the members of the original Broadway cast of RENT, and the cast was going to be on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. I set up the VCR and we sat there and watched, just for kicks.

June 21, 1996 is the day my life changed forever.…

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Bré’s story: Using her voice to empower others

Bré’s story: Using her voice to empower others

This transgender woman helps the community speak for themselves.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

Bré Anne Campbell doesn’t want to see another trans woman of color murdered. It’s a sobering problem across the country, but especially in Detroit, where Michigan’s lack of anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people often forces transgender women into the street economy because it’s the only job they can find. Then, of course, there are the random acts of violence against trans women that have nothing to do with their line of work.

So after the vicious murder in 2011 of Shelly Hilliard, who went by the name Treasure — she was dismembered and her body parts were strewn across the city — Campbell decided enough was enough.…

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Jay’s story: Falling in love with himself

Jay’s story: Falling in love with himself

Having embraced who he really is, this transgender man uses his voice to advocate for others.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

Until he came out as transgender at age 25, Jay Maddock felt trapped. He felt like a fraud for not presenting his authentic self to the world — or, for many of those years, even to himself.

It’s not that his childhood or adolescence were terrible. A lot of times were really good, growing up in a loving family. But Maddock would have what he calls “lost boy memories”: brief moments when his authentic self was trying to shine through.…

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Michelle’s story: Building a support system

Michelle’s story: Building a support system

This transgender woman’s advocacy helped her lifelong dream come true.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

When Michelle Fox-Phillips first realized she wanted to be a girl, she was only two or three years old. She and her male cousin were very close, like brothers, and one day they were taking a bath together.

Curious in the way most kids are, they tucked their tiny penises between their legs and said they were girls. It probably didn’t mean much to Fox-Phillips’ cousin, but it did to her.

“Something clicked in my brain, but I didn’t know what it was,” she says.…

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GUEST POST – Michigan: Say NO to discrimination and stand up for small businesses

GUEST POST – Michigan: Say NO to discrimination and stand up for small businesses

The following guest post was written by my friend Chris Armstrong, Partnerships and Government Affairs Director for Small Business Majority. Chris was the former student body president of University of Michigan and experienced first hand the corrosive impacts of anti-gay bigotry at the hands of former state Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell who stalked and harassed him during his time at U of M. Armstrong sued Shirvell and ended up winning a $4.5 million judgment against him.

You can learn more about Small Business Majority HERE.

Enjoy.
Around the country, we’re seeing a troubling trend of states passing laws that effectively legalize discrimination against LGBT people, sometimes known as religious exemption or religious freedom laws.…

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Becky’s story: Standing in the light

Becky’s story: Standing in the light

This transgender woman lived a double life for decades, but not anymore.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

To the rest of the world, it seemed like Becky Veal had a life anyone would want. She supported her wife and their three children, served in the U.S. Army, and worked as a union organizer and negotiator for much of her professional life.

But while she was living the life expected of the male gender she was assigned at birth, she felt like her mind was boiling, she says. The only way to relieve what she describes as the “pressure cooker” inside her was to check into a motel, lock the door, draw the curtains and dress in the feminine clothes that made her feel like herself for a while — even if she had to do it in the dark.…

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Coleen’s story: Unconditional love and support

Coleen’s story: Unconditional love and support

As the mother of a transgender child, she is a fierce advocate for transgender rights.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

Every parent hopes for a happy, fulfilling future for their children. Maybe they dream about what career they might pursue, or what their wedding day will be like. If their children face challenges, loving parents are there to support them with whatever they need to thrive.

When a child comes out as transgender, it means parents must reshape some of their dreams. That was true for Coleen Young and her husband, David, when their daughter, Heather, told them she felt uncomfortable with the male gender she’d been assigned at birth.…

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Ellie’s story: Living out loud

Ellie’s story: Living out loud

This transgender woman soared into a brave new world and isn’t looking back.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

The day Ellie Webster decided to begin transitioning from the male body she was assigned at birth, she knew it was a leap of faith. But it was a leap she was finally ready to take after many false starts. It was a leap into the unknown, yet she knew it was the only way to live her life to the fullest.

Before Webster took her first dose of hormones — just 12 hours shy of her 33rd birthday — she reflected on the moment.…

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Char’s story: Visibility, lost and found

Char’s story: Visibility, lost and found

This transgender woman is on a lifelong journey to express her authentic self.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

It was the summer of 1964. Char Davenport, who was eight years old, was sitting with her father on the front porch. At the time, she says, she didn’t think of herself in terms of sex or gender — she didn’t relate to the male body she’d been assigned at birth, but at her young age, she didn’t think much about it one way or another.

She just knew she didn’t want to play baseball.…

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Introducing a story series about the lives of transgender people

Introducing a story series about the lives of transgender people

As both acceptance and animosity toward the transgender community grow, personal stories are essential to education and advocacy.

This story series began, like most ideas, with a confluence of inspiration.

With transgender people increasingly in the spotlight, their lives have become more visible — but not entirely visible. Many Americans only see what the public eye will allow. Celebrities like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner may help raise awareness, but they certainly don’t tell the whole story of the transgender community. I don’t pretend that my new series can tell the whole story, either, but it will look at the real lives of transgender people living in our communities instead of in the glare of the media.…

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The Ultimate LGBT Wedding & Anniversary Expo celebrates equality and looks to the future

The Ultimate LGBT Wedding & Anniversary Expo celebrates equality and looks to the future

Even while throwing a great party on March 20, the event co-producers still have their eyes on the ultimate goal of lived equality.


It began as an LGBT wedding expo six years ago, in response to LGBT couples being turned away from wedding venues that disapproved of same-sex marriage. Following the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, it’s now a wedding and anniversary expo, acknowledging the countless LGBT couples who have been together — or were already married in other states or countries — for many years.

It was always intended to advance the cause of LGBT equality, and it still is.…

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