Here is a message I posted tonight on the "Facebook Event" page for tomorrow's St. John's Pride Inc., public Board of Directors meeting.
Hey Folks, just introducing myself. I was part of a small team of people who formally registered St. John's Pride Inc., as a provincial non-profit organization, back in Sept 2010.
This move proved to be quite polarizing as some were strongly in favour, and some were strongly against it. some cited concerns specifically about me, as i am apparently not well liked for my stances on certain political issues that may have differed from the majority of LGBT people.
Bottom line, it is also fairly common knowledge that i left Pride in March 2012, under rather hostile terms. I felt that this 'community' that we keep referencing, was not giving fair recognition and attention to trans issues, so that was a key reason for my departure.
Upon departure, I feel responsible for bringing heightened awareness to Pride as a 24/7/365 entity, and not just as a one week party in the summer. With the help of Pam Sheaves, Brandon Jenkins, and Vanny Woodford - all of whom you all may know, Pride moved into it's first election in March 2012 - with my resignation acting as a catalyst for increased heightened attention and an excuse to expand the board. This ploy was successful as all major media outlets covered the story, and a group of over 40 community members, attended a meeting - in March! to put together a new Board for Pride.
Since leaving, I have not only kept a close eye on Pride, but have attended some events in 2012 and 2013, and have developed good working relationships with some of the various board members, on a variety of projects both in and out of the LGBT context.
Some say i am a very difficult person to work with, and if that is true, then i think the ultimate compliment should go to those on 2012-13 boards who have still managed to work with me, despite concerns and cries from others to 'shut me out'. Nobody should be shut out!
Sadly, i was a recent victim of transphobic cyber-bullying, by members of the cis-LGB community, during last month's Municipal election. It saddened me that all current Board members, turned a blind eye and offered no outcry (unlike the intense outcry they had when another community member, Pat Blackburn, was a victim of homophobia). this double-standard speaks volumes to me. It also leads me to believe that the transphobia within the LGB community that we say back in March 2012, may still exist. With this in mind, i have significant concerns with several of the incumbent board.
With this in mind, i think it is very important to elect a new board that contains people who have demonstrated that they won't throw people under the bus, just because they are trans, or just because they don't like the particular person.
If you can get along with me, then you can get along with anyone... and i think this is a good litmus test to take a look at. There are certain people running in tomorrow's election that I would like to point out in a positive manner, and take note that these folks seem willing to give everyone a fair chance, and work towards solutions, rather than keep digging up old wounds. We need to bring this community together - an no folks, we aren't quite there yet! but we are getting close.
Having said all of this, I think it is worth pointing out that i received 5725 votes last month by St. John's residents for the high profile position of Deputy Mayor. While I did not win, I know i earned the trust and respect from many folks from many different backgrounds, in our city. So with in mind, I'd like to hope that some non-bias neutral analysis will add some value as we look to put together the best Board we can have.
With this in mind, i'd like to personally commend and endorse the following people, who I feel have genuinely earned my full trust, respect, and endorsement:
Danny Coombs, Robyn Noseworthy, Jamie Harnum, Sarah Downey, Ky Rees, and Matt Caravan.
This is not to say that their opponents wouldn't make good board members, but these are 6 people i would definitely be voting for, should I have been able to attend the meeting. (and yes, i have serious concerns that the incumbants organized an election for 9 am sunday morning, and won't allow proxy or online voting).
While these people aren't all necessarily friends of mine, they are people i think could do great work and better work, and are the best among the bunch who are running, who can take pride into further growth and expansion into the next level! Most of all, i trust these people when they say they will make pride transparent and accountable - something that is clearly an unresolved issue for many people posting comments on here.
Anyway, hope the meeting goes well. I won't likely be able to make it as i work for the RNC and will be taking 911 calls all morning.. but best of luck to all, and i hope the meeting is well attended! I will anxiously watch as an interested stakeholder, as 2013-14 Pride develops and matures into something that I hope i and other older transwomen, will want to be a part of!