(Permission to repost this from Laura Calvo, Oregon’s Stonewall Democrats, one of the Transgender Delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Committe’s Convention.)
On Wednesday, August 27, 2008, trans delegates from eight states honored the Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee LGBT Caucus Rick Stafford with the Jane Fee Award.
The award, named for the first openly out trans identified delegate to the national convention in 2000. The award is presented at the DNCC to a person who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the transgender community within the democratic party.
Rick, who hails from Minnesota and is a member of the Democratic National Committee, has a long history of being a true friend and ally to the trans community. Rick was instrumental in helping Minnesota legislators pass the first in the nation anti-discrimination protections for trans people. Rick has been at the forefront of advocating for platform language and legislation embracing gender identity language.
As a gay man living with AIDS and a long time democratic party leader, Rick has not only been a vocal advocate, but a mentor to many of the trans people who join with him in the leadership of thedemocratic party.
Presenting the award to Rick at the 2008 DNCC LGBT Caucus held at the Denver Convention Center is Babs Casbar, New jersey Delegate and President of the New Jersey Stonewall Democrats.
In 2000, Jane Fee was the only Trans identified delegate to the national convention. In 2004, 4 trans identified delegates were elected to represent their states. This year, 9 trans delegates were elected from around the country. However, one of the delegates faced the threat of losing her employment if she took the time off of work to attend. Over half of the trans delegation this year were people of color.
In addition to the trans delegates, other prominent trans leaders were in Denver for the convention.
Mara Kielsling from NCTE, Shannon Minter from NGLTF, Donna Rose, and Dr. Dana Beyer were all present.