|It’s Time-North Carolina, the informal organization heading up this year’s transgender educational initiative at the HRC Carolinas Gala in Charlotte, is a local LGBT organization many community members might not have heard of before.
Although the organization had been established in the Carolinas for a year before current director Angela Brightfeather moved here from New York 10 years ago, there hadn’t been much movement or strategic organizing.
“When I took over in the leadership, it was like starting from base zero and on top of that I was a Yankee.” Brightfeather said. “Our purpose really is simple. We want to get the transgender community unified and politically active so that we can have the input we need in local and state issues, legislation and policy making.”
In New York, Brightfeather was instrumental in fighting against that state’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which excluded transgender people from employment protection. Thirteen years later, New York has yet to include transgender protections in state employment laws. Currently, the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act is working its way through the New York legislature.
It’s Time-North Carolina isn’t a support group and neither is it registered as any official political action group. “We don’t have any official members and, basically, we serve to be a simple gathering point, a source of news and information. We’re just an informal gathering of activists, community members and leaders and organizations. We can be a lot more politically active and aware without being officially organized,” Brightfeather said.
It’s Time-North Carolina has been successful in establishing informational booths at both Pride Charlotte and the NC Pride Festival in Durham, N.C., and establishing the Connie Sprye Fund at Equality North Carolina. The fund, used to assist transgender community members with travel, room and board for Equality NC events and lobby days, accepts contributions from any community member.
info: It’s Time-North Carolina’s website is located at www.itstimenc.tripod.com.