Every year, the staff at Q-Notes in Charlotte sits down and wade through a list of names as we come to a consensus on who should be our Person of the Year. Our task is a great one: Choose a North or South Carolinian who has worked the hardest to ensure the continued equality of the LGBT community at home and nationally. We also try to focus our attention on the people who aren't likely to get much recognition elsewhere. Our Person of the Year honor is our little unsung hero's award. My job's the hardest I think: Compiling the list to present to my associate editor, publisher and other staff members.
I'm happy and pleased with the result. This year we were pleased to name transgender activist Angela Brightfeather our 2008 Person of the Year.
When we announced this year's honor in our Dec. 27 issue, our wonderful Bilerico editor Alex Blaze emailed me and suggested I share the news with the Project. Of course, I was happy to write again about Brightfeather -- she certainly deserves it.
From our Dec. 27 article:
From her humble home in North Carolina to the doorsteps of national organizations and the halls of Congress, there's no doubt that Angela Brightfeather has done her part this year.
If there were issues to be discussed, if the transgender community needed an advocate or if the transgender community was being ignored, Brightfeather stepped up.
The 63-year-old transgender leader and activist is a legend -- she's been involved in advocacy work since she was in her 20s; and she's certainly not afraid of ruffling feathers.
"Anybody who challenges the establishment is going against the flow," she told Q-Notes. "When you do that, you become the ultimate activist. You become the one that pushes too hard, that wants everybody to take a lead, the one who wants to really change things."
I've always admired Brightfeather. Her passion and outspokenness is a model for LGBT activists across the country. What makes her such a principled leader is that she's never afraid to speak her mind, no matter who she might be addressing. Her bold statements are backed by years of experience and a commitment to full transgender equality.
You can read more about Brightfeather, a regular Projector by the way, at our article announcing her honor. Be sure to check out some of those bold statements, including her thoughts on ENDA, Prop. 8, Barney Frank and HRC, at the end of the article.