Serena Freewomyn

Better Know a Contributor: Marti Abernathey

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | August 03, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
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Editor's Note: You've seen Steven Colbert's "Better Know a Lobbyist," but our version is so much gayer! Each weekend, we spotlight a different TBP contributor. In case you've missed any of our previous interviews, I've got links at the end of the post.

This week we're talking with Marti Abertnathey. Marti is a former Bilerico ed team member. She had to step down because of her commitments to the Obama campaign. We're really proud that Marti is the first transgender delegate from Indiana to participate in the Democratic National Convention. Marti currently serves as Transadvocate.com's blog mother. She's also a podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Follow me after the jump to find out about Marti's views on Obama, the HRC, and manicures.

1. How did you get involved with TBP?
Bil and I have known each other in the Indiana GLBT community for years. Transadvocate was really starting to take off in April of 2007 when Bil contacted me to become a contributor. It just made sense to publish in both places. I think it's important that a trans voices be speaking to a GLB audience.

2. What was your coming out experience like?
I'd like to say it was all roses and lollipops, but it wasn't. I was outed by my ex-wife, at work, to my family, to my other ex-wife, and to anyone else that would listen. I understand now that she was trying to get back at me, but it was helpful to me in the end. Who supported me, and who rejected me was swift and apparent. I lost the support of all of my family, save for my brother.

3. You seem to have quite an axe to grind with the HRC. What's that all about?
Axe to grind? I'm an HRC member. My "axe" isn't so much with HRC, as it is with the other organizations that continue to say they support a fully inclusive ENDA only, but continue to work with HRC. I'm appreciative of the hard work that HRC is doing for me as a gay person. What other GLBT organization has hired a transwoman (save for Pride at Work)? At least they are open about their position on ENDA. My thoughts about HRC have been tempered a lot because of my work with the Obama campaign and the many great people I've worked with there (many who are former HRC people, like Phil Burgess and Phil Attey).

4. How did you get involved working for Obama's campaign?
By going to the campaign and telling them I wanted to help. It really was that easy. Of course a lot of the GLBT community in Indiana were supporting Hillary Clinton, so there was a lot for me to do. I organized a dinner, which led to organizing the Pride event, and now with I'm helping organize the Indiana Obama Pride effort. I was also chosen by the Indiana Democratic Party as the first transgender delegate from the state of Indiana (and one of two transgender delegates for Obama in the US). It all started by just being there, being visible, and being available.

5. What has been the best part, so far, of your campaign work?
Well, there have been so many things that have been great. I've enjoyed canvassing, organizing, and being part of an awesome grassroots team. I really love politics, so while this has kept me busy, it's not felt like "work." Hearing the next President of the United States personally thank me for my campaign work in front of 900 people was pretty amazing, too. I know I'm lucky. So many people volunteer their time and effort and never get a thank you.

6. What's your favorite way to treat yourself?
Treat myself? I either get my hair done by Zach Adamson of Simply Hair, or get my nails done. Climbing down off the obesity ladder has taught me not to treat myself with food. I'd rather make myself look good than cause myself to feel bad.

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Check out previous interviews with TBP Contributors
Alex Blaze
Don Sherfick
Sara Whitman
Brent Hartinger
Jessica Hoffman
Cathy Renna
Waymon Hudson
Kate Clinton
Bruce Parker
Jerame Davis
Mercedes Allen
Monica Roberts
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Steve Ralls
Nancy Polikoff


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Bil and I have known each other in the Indiana GLBT community for years.

Notice she doesn't say how many years... Let's leave it this way: Jerame and I will have been together for ten years in October. I've known Marti longer than I've known Jerame.

Neat interview and a nice way to get to know a bit more about Marti.

I'm dealing with the same food issues! We're uncomfortable-relationship-with-food sisters, Marti!