LGBT Dems leader accused of anti-trans bias

VP of state LGBT Democratic Party caucus refutes charges; Caucus takes nearly two weeks to respond on transgender inclusion issues

Originally published: June 28, 2013, 11:05 a.m.
Updated: July 5, 2013, 8:49 a.m.

Janice Covington, second from right, was among 13 transgender delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Today, she alleges a fellow LGBT Democratic leader attempted to exclude her from a local women's caucus on the basis of gender identity. Photo Credit: David Lari/QNotes.

Janice Covington, second from right, was among 13 transgender delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and the first trans delegate from North Carolina. Today, she alleges a fellow LGBT Democratic Party leader attempted to exclude her from a local women’s caucus on the basis of her gender identity. Photo Credit: David Lari/QNotes.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A local transgender, Democratic Party activist is alleging that a fellow LGBT leader in the party told her she should join a men’s auxiliary group instead of receiving full membership in a local party women’s caucus. The leader with the statewide LGBT party caucus is refuting the charges while the group itself refused to comment for nearly two weeks, finally releasing a statement on Monday.

LGBT Democrats of North Carolina Vice President Concetta Caliendo allegedly told a transgender woman she should join a men's auxiliary instead of a Democratic women's group.

LGBT Democrats of North Carolina Vice President Concetta Caliendo has refuted allegations of transgender exclusion.
Photo Credit: lgbtdemocrats.org.

Janice Covington, of Charlotte, said she joined the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County in April. On June 12, Covington attended her first meeting where she alleges that Concetta Caliendo, who serves as vice president of the LGBT Democrats of North Carolina, questioned her membership in the organization.

“She said, ‘Some of us have a problem with your membership in the Democratic Women,'” Covington told qnotes. “She said, ‘We don’t have any transgender people and we don’t have any guidelines for transgender people but in reality you would be better suited to be in the auxiliary.'”

The group’s associate membership is for men. Covington, who is transgender and identifies as a woman, was the first openly transgender delegate from North Carolina to a Democratic National Convention when it was hosted in the Queen City last year. She has also been a delegate at county and district conventions.

News of the membership controversy was initially reported earlier in June by local media outlets. At the time, Covington did not disclose Caliendo’s identity. She later did so in an interview with qnotes. A second source close to the Democratic Women confirmed Covington’s allegations.

The Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County issued a statement on June 17 clarifying the situation and reaffirming Covington’s full membership. The group didn’t mention Caliendo but in a separate Facebook post again reaffirmed Covington had full membership and apologized that she was “led to believe otherwise by someone who is not a current board member.” The group has also said Covington was the first transgender woman to apply for membership and that they and the statewide Democratic Women of North Carolina will be reviewing their membership policies.

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Caliendo is a longtime lesbian activist and Democratic Party supporter. In addition to her role at the LGBT Democrats of North Carolina, Caliendo is also first vice president and president-elect of Democratic Women of North Carolina. She also served on Charlotte’s Democratic National Convention Host Committee last year.

Covington said she was surprised a fellow LGBT community member would voice reservations about her membership. Still, she hopes the experience leads to greater understanding.

“It will open the door not just for transgender people but for all of the LGBT community,” Covington said about the controversy.

Caliendo, other officials largely silent

qnotes attempted reaching out to Caliendo and LGBT Democrats of North Carolina President Ryan Butler several times via email and phone for over a week. Neither returned the newspaper’s multiple queries before a version of this story was published on Friday, June 28. A June 27 email sent to other LGBT Democrats board members was also unreturned.

In a June 29 emailed statement entitled “The Truth,” also posted to the newspaper’s website, Caliendo refuted Covington’s version of her conversation.

“I am deeply saddened by the sullying of my name and questioning my representation of Equal Rights for All People,” Caliendo wrote. “When I spoke to Janice Covington, I never said you are not a member. I never said join the Men’s Auxiliary. There is no Men’s Auxiliary. I never said some members had a problem with her membership.”

Caliendo also said there were concerns from the membership chair of the local county caucus concerning Covington’s voter registration.

“The [Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County] checks the voter registration status of all new members to insure they are Democrats,” Caliendo wrote. “Upon doing so, DWMC discovered that Janice was registered as a male.”

The bylaws of the group say membership is open to “women who are registered Democrats.” According to the regulations, men can join as associate members.

LGBT Democrats of North Carolina released an official statement on Monday, July 1, six hours before qnotes was scheduled to send its July 5 print edition to press. In the statement, sent by caucus president Ryan Butler, the group claimed the newspaper’s reporting had contained “several inaccuracies,” though he declined to elaborate on them. The statement also said the paper’s reports included “allegations against Concetta Caliendo, which she has strongly denied.”

The group said it advocates for the full inclusion of the LGBT community.

“Our all volunteer organization consists of many LGBT activists who have spent countless hours advocating on behalf of the rights of transgendered persons,” the statement read. “Any assertion that the LGBT Democrats are less than 100% behind our transgendered brothers and sisters in our fight for equality is absolutely absurd.”

LGBT Democrats of North Carolina said they support a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act and will be proposing amendments to the state party’s governing documents to add gender-identity to its non-discrimination policy.

The caucus said they are a new organization and are still growing. As of yet, they have no openly transgender officers in their organization.

“We are a new and small organization. We have no staff, little money and limited resources,” the group said. “While we do not ask our officers to disclose their gender identity, we do not currently have any officers who have self identified as transgendered. To our knowledge we have not had any persons who identified as transgendered attend any of our initial meetings.”

The group, which is an official caucus of the state Democratic Party, says in its bylaws that it will take efforts “to balance the committee with respect to age, gender, gender identity, race, and ethnicity.”

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The group added, “The current officers are the initial first set of elected officers within the organization and we are hopeful that we will be able to add to our diversity at our next election later this year by adding a transgendered officer or member of the executive committee.”

Several questions posed both to Caliendo and other LGBT Democrats officials went unanswered in Caliendo’s June 29 statement and the caucus’ official statement. You can read the full statement posted in its entirety at the end of this article.

An issue of inclusion

June Mabry, of Stanly County, said she was supportive of the LGBT caucus’ formation and joined as a member at the group’s organizational meeting in Greensboro in 2011. She believes groups like the LGBT caucus should be helping to advocate for inclusion.

“My view of what the caucuses are is that they are advocates and are literally educators to help us understand,” she said. “It’s just like the AARP. The AARP’s job is to advocate for seniors to Congress and state legislators and help the general public understand the needs of that community and understand who that community is so they don’t fall into the shadows.”

Mabry served as chair of the party’s Eighth Congressional District Convention when Covington began her quest to become an elected delegate to Charlotte’s Democratic National Convention. Mabry, who also served on the state party’s delegate selection committee, said she knew of at least one person at the time who had questioned Covington’s qualification to run as a female for a Democratic convention delegate seat. Those experiences point to a need for more inclusion and education about transgender issues.

“We are a party that is inclusive of people and we accept people for who they are, not what they are,” Mabry said. “Janice’s situation brings an educational need into relief. One of the things the party needs to do is actually incorporate some of those things into their trainings, about what the caucuses do, what the caucuses stand for, why we have them and what are we trying to accomplish by having them. What does it mean to be a big tent?

Currently, the state party’s platform and charter include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination and equality provisions but omit gender identity. Mabry thinks future transgender-inclusive changes in the state party are possible.

“This party is about equal rights and dignity for everyone,” she said. “We believe in equality for all and we believe in humanity. … If you are a human being, you deserve human dignity and you have the same rights that I have, regardless of gender.”

North Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Micah Beasley said changes to the platform can be taken up when the platform committee convenes again next year.

Full statement: LGBT Democrats of North Carolina

Official Statement from the LGBT Democrats of North Carolina

July 1, 2013

The LGBT Democrats of North Carolina were recently asked by Matt Comer
to respond to several questions regarding our organization. Mr.
Comer’s recent article on qnotes contains several inaccuracies and
makes allegations against Concetta Caliendo, which she has strongly
denied. In addition, qnotes questions the LGBT Democrats support for
transgender equality.

The LGBT Democrats are the official NC Democratic auxiliary working to
secure full equal rights for LGBT Citizens through effective
legislation and policies and working to elect pro-equality Democrats.

Our all volunteer organization consists of many LGBT activists who
have spent countless hours advocating on behalf of the rights of
transgendered persons. Any assertion that the LGBT Democrats are less
than 100% behind our transgendered brothers and sisters in our fight
for equality is absolutely absurd.

We are aware of the terrible discrimination that transgendered persons
suffer throughout our country and have been fighting tirelessly to put
an end to it. Among other things, we support and advocate for a full
inclusive ENDA and we plan to propose amending the Democratic Party’s
governing documents to include gender identity in its
non-discrimination policy at the next SEC meeting.

We are a new and small organization. We have no staff, little money
and limited resources. While we do not ask our officers to disclose
their gender identity, we do not currently have any officers who have
self identified as transgendered. To our knowledge we have not had any
persons who identified as transgendered attend any of our initial
meetings. We have publicized most of our meetings via email, listed
them publicly on our website at lgbtdemocrats.org and on our Facebook
page, encouraging any democrats to attend.

The current officers are the initial first set of elected officers
within the organization and we are hopeful that we will be able to add
to our diversity at our next election later this year by adding a
transgendered officer or member of the executive committee.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

28 Replies to “LGBT Dems leader accused of anti-trans bias”

  1. A Lesbian Democrat June 28, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Stand by your principles, Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County. Once you let a trans*woman into your group, the agenda will be All Trans* Issues, All the Time. It’s happened all over the country, with Lesbian organizations, so that there are no Lesbian organizations that haven’t been co-opted by the Trans*Activist Agenda. Trans*Activists do not allow women to gather together without their born male presence dominating the group. They will infiltrate and take over leadership positions and the focus of women-only groups soon changes to the Trans*Women agenda.

    1. Toni Browning-Early June 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Dear “A Lesbian Democrat”

      Your TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) agenda and what it represents is no better than the bigoted regressive agenda of the religious right.

      Trans people do NOT want to take over anything of yours or exclude you in any way, we simply want equal rights as American citizens just as you do.

      Hate is hate, exclusion is exclusion, and that is all you are expressing and/or promoting here. Grow up and learn to accept people for who they are and not some bigoted, hateful label you want to place on them.

      1. Here here Toni!

        I couldn’t have said it better myself. For someone who is part of the LGBT community she should totally be ashamed of herself. She has experienced the hatred, bigotry, been shunned by society and had her rights as a human being violated and stripped away all her life but to turn around and do it to someone else is really showing herself to be precisely the same as those who did it to her. She is also showing her total ignorance of what it is to be transgender/transsexual, totally pathetic in my book. Educate yourself people! What she said is judging all transgender/transsexual people by what she may have experienced by one. Should we judge all lesbians by the actions of one? I guarantee you we’ve all met some pretty nasty people, gay or straight, in our lifetimes and to hold all people of one subset according to one person of that subset would mean we would all have a pretty pathetic and sad existance.

        Futhermore “A Lesbian Democrat” you obviously have no clue or idea exactly what the term Democrat means or the philosophy of the party truly is. You shame all Democrats by declaring yourself one, again, educate yourself as to the true meaning and philosophy of the democratic party or join the Republican party because you’re spouting the same kind of hate and rhetoric that they do towards the LGBT community. (disclaimer: not labeling ALL republicans that way because I do know quite a few who are supportive of our community, just speaking mainly of their party platform).

        1. One other thing Janice, hold your head high because I can guarantee you’re more of a woman and a lady than the one calling herself a Lesbian Democrat!

    2. Looks like the Philadelphia Gay News is letting Victoria Brownworth moonlight down south.

    3. Angela Brightfeather July 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Lesbian Democrat,
      I am very sorry, but your statement is an outright prefabrication and exageration. I challenge you to mention one Democrat organization that was “taken over” by Transgender activists, outside of the Michigam Woman’s Festival, which we all know is not a Democrat organization, but made their attendance “women born women only.”

      Your misleading and outrageously transphobic statement, clearly indicates the animosity that exists in the lesbian community with Trans women, something that seems to be lacking in the gay men’s movement about Trans men, and for good reason. Such silly and provacative statements harken back to the days when the GLBT Community was unable to be inclusive of TRans people. Those daysm dating back tot he early 1990’s have been challenged for what they really are and been proven to have been grounded in a vlosed door policy advocated by GLB people who were unable to understand anything about gender identity and were fociused only on what was between a person’s legs and not their ears.

      1. “I challenge you to mention one Democrat organization that was “taken over” by Transgender activists”

        You’re asking a TERF to produce facts?

        What next? Asking a Republican to?

    4. Lesbian Democrat is absolutely right. Just wait and see. Wait and see how, over time, real women (anatomical, natal, XX women) are displaced by wanna-be pretenders. At that time, we’ll need a new feminism — a so-called “cisfeminism” — to promote the issues of importance to REAL women.

      Call me a hater if you like, but just wait and see.

  2. Robert Kellogg June 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    The statement that Miss Covington was told she should join the men’s auxiliary makes no sense. There is no men’s auxiliary. It would make no sense for someone with Caliendo’s knowledge of the inner workings of the Democratic party to say that.

    I don’t know the whole story, but we are obviously not getting both sides here. I realize Q-notes attempted to reach out to several state level LGBT Democrats, but I hope people will reserve judgment either way until all the facts are in.

    In the mean-time I hope Miss Covington will attend the Democratic women’s meetings and continue to be a pioneer in the march for equality.

    1. Robert, You’re absolutely right. Both sides aren’t presented in the story, but that is only so because the other side will not comment. We did more than reach out to “several state level Democrats.” We reached out, several times over more than a week’s time, to Caliendo herself, as well as Ryan Butler, president of the LGBT Democrats of North Carolina, and other members of the LGBT Democrats of North Carolina President’s Council. None have answered.

  3. Janice Covington June 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Robert Here is a copy of the North Carolina Democratic Women s Bi Laws on membership , note section 3 …

    ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
    Section 1. Any woman who is an active Democrat in North Carolina as defined in the Plan of Organization, Democratic Party of North Carolina, and who pledges herself to the principles of the Democratic Party and to work for the election of Democratic candidates through her local Democratic Women’s organization, if such exists, shall be eligible for membership in this organization.

    Section 2. Any woman who qualifies for membership in accordance with the provisions of Section 1 of this Article where no county organization exists may become a member of this organization as a member-at-large.

    Section 3. Associate membership is open to any male who is a registered Democrat and who supports the purposes and goals of this organization. Associate members are non-voting members and may not hold office.

  4. Janice Covington June 29, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Another thing, I do what I do for the entire LGBT community; paving the way for acceptance from mainstream America is my agenda. My concerns have always been for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender human rights. All of you who know me and have never seen me dwell exclusively on Transgender issues, my heart is for humanity I am not one sided. I have never experienced any discrimination from my family until now and it has taken a toll on my ideals. I have always known of the prejudice from a few gays and lesbians but for the most part I know many of them love me, as I do them.

    Everywhere I go, straight people both men and women talk with me and get to know me. I know my advocacy is working, not just from their words but also their actions. When I go out to LGBT events, I have both Gays and Lesbians say hi and give me hugs. If it weren’t for them, my cause would not mean a thing. I have no I’ll feelings or hate towards the person who wrote this comment. I can only feel that she has had a bad experience and ask her not to judge us all from one’s actions. She said in her comment that I have an agenda to take over the woman’s organization only to push trans rights, this is not true, I have never brought up trans issue’s in any meeting. My agenda is to work with the women’s organization and the Democratic Party to show the LGBT community that people are accepting. God made us not divided but to love one another.

  5. This is absolutely an outrage. It is beyond me when I see prejudice and exclusion from people within another minority group. Sadly, I have also experienced rude behavior from a very few gay men personally for being Trans. I don’t get it.
    There seems to be a hierarchy of priorities within the LGBT community and Trans and Bi are on the bottom of the list. I can understand Trans people who have come to the conclusion that they are not welcome in the Gay Community and want nothing to do with it.
    The odd thing is that sooooooo many gay men and lesbians are gender non-stereotypical that you think they would get it. This lesbian in the photo definitely looks pretty butch to me. Maybe she should join the men’s auxillary?

  6. “It’s also not clear if there are any openly transgender people represented in the LGBT Democrats’ President’s Council or its Executive Committee. ”

    I”m sure there are just as many as are currently gainfully employed by HRC.

  7. Janice Covington June 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I can safley say the North Carolina LGBT caucus has no tranagenders on the President’s Council or its Executive Committee and has never had one. I am a belever that after my experence with them for the last 2 years they are not gender inclusive. I know they are keeping up with this so I say to them prove me wrong.

  8. Concetta Caliendo June 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    The Truth
    The Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County extended membership to Janice Covington. The DWMC then checked Janice Covington’s voter registration on VOTE BUILDER to make sure that Janice was registered as a Democrat. The DWMC checks the registration status of all new members to insure they are Democrats. Upon doing so the DWMC discovered that Janice was registered as a male. The Constitution and Bylaws of the DWMC under Article III Membership, Section 1., states; “Membership shall be open to women who are registered Democrats.”

    The Membership Chair of the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County then requested that the situation be referred to the Democratic Women of NC for determination, and asked me to do so. It is unfortunate that while the DWMC issued a statement on June 17, according to the QNotes article, reaffirming Janice Covington’s full membership, they failed to clarify they had requested the State take this under advisement. I certainly never said or did anything to lead Janice to believe that she was not a member.

    As a Lesbian and a long time advocate for LGBT Rights in this City, County, State and Country I am deeply saddened by the sullying of my name and questioning my representation of Equal Rights for All People. When I spoke to Janice Covington I never said you are not a member. I never said join the Men’s Auxiliary. There is no Men’s Auxiliary. I never said some members had a problem with her membership.

    As a Lesbian I was speaking to Janice about how I was glad the Membership Chair had asked me (a lesbian) to bring it up to the state board. Janice did not seem to remember that I had worked hard to get her elected as a Transgender delegate to the DNC and had advocated on her behalf.

    It is certainly and without a doubt absurd to ever think I would not stand up for LGBT Rights as I have been doing so for over 40 years.
    Concetta Caliendo
    June 29, 2013

    1. Ms Caliendo

      Thanks for all your past work.

      I can see where you’re coming from.

      I do believe though that you suggested that Ms Covington be registered as an associate member – if only because a ruling might come from state level requiring on purely technical grounds voting documentation saying “f” not “m”.

      As you can see from the post by “A Lesbian Democrat”, there is a vocal transphobic strain of Lesbian thought, just as there is a vocal and equally embarrassing Racist strain still remaining in the DNC. Not all Dixiecrats defected en masse to the GOP.

      In such a charged atmosphere, your best course, in my totally uncalled-for opinion, is to not qualify an apology by saying you were misunderstood, or had good intent, or to quibble about “associate” vs “auxiliary”, but to simply say “Sorry”, however unjust you may feel that to be.

      Since I’m handing out unwelcome and unfair advice, I ask Ms Covington to accept such an apology, with praise to you for past good work, and also not to quibble or cavil, however unfair she may feel that to be too.

      I ask this as a favour. Because I identify as right-wing, a little to the right of Eisenhower’s GOP. That makes me far, far, far to the left of today’s Republicans, and even much of the Democratic party too.

      I want to see the loathsome thing that the GOP has become not merely defeated, but destroyed, so it may regenerate into a sane alternative. So I no longer feel ashamed.

      Please therefore work together to accomplish this, our mutual aim.

      My apologies for being so forthright here, if I could have come up with words giving less offense, I would have done so. Neither of you deserve being offended. Sorry.

  9. Concetta is an outspoken advocate for equal rights for all LGBT folks. Her loyalty is only surpassed by her love for her LGBT sisters and brothers. Her work will continue and we all benefit from it. Thank you Concetta.

  10. Janice Covington June 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Concetta. after reading the statements from the MCDW, I feel in their statement they kind of left you out to dry or holding the bag so to speak. You did say my membership was in question and had to have approval on July 13th at the NCDW meeting then you said it would be best suited for me to join the men’s Auxiliary [ Associates or whatever, it’s the same. ] and as a matter of fact if you read the article from Q-Notes closer you will see where a source close to the Dem Women confirmed what I said you said, because she heard you. You see Concetta there is a witness. Also Concetta Gender Identity is what I fall under; I identify as a woman not a man regardless what my voter ID says. You as a Activist for LGBT rights should know this. I was good enough for the State Dems and the DNC as a woman and you my friend had nothing to do with me being ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE of the 8th Congressional district. I was not appointed by you or the committee. The LGBT Dems stuck their nose up at me when I asked for help. As far as I am concerned since you are the vice chair then it was you who stuck your nose up at me.
    Also many board members of the MCDW has called me and gave me their support, I am glad they did because they told me they had no idea of what went down and they are standing behind me. I am will to drop this in the interest of the MCDW and the LGBT if you are and call it a misunderstanding, your call.

    Janice Covington a Proud Transgender Woman

  11. No one who knows Concetta could never imagine her behaving in the manner of which she has been accused. Anyone who has participated in the political process beyond voting or volunteering around an election knows that alot of people in and outside of a campaign work for candidates long before the voters get their chance. If you think you understand the situation, join any politically active group, go to the meetings and you will find out how few people are actually involved and how hard they work with little reward for you and your rights.

    1. Angela Brightfeather July 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

      I will agree with you 10% about the work that is done on all of our behalf. I will also state that what was said to Ms. Covington is probably the most accurate rendering, especiall since it was confirmed by a witness and noted by Matt Comer.
      Therfore, I must conclude that as in many cases in the past, statments are passed on by some people that parrot others, such as in this case, and in the asking may get miscommunicated in the process. Therefore, some clemency in this case may be in order.

      However, I do not believe that Janice Covington came up with some kind of idea to bring these questions stated to her, out of thin air, or to try and make some kind of political point regarding Trans people in the caucus. She is simply not that kind of person and has never used the backs of others to climb higher nside the Democratic party here in NC.

      Everything indicates that a clarification is needed by higher ups in the Party at the state level who clearly need to explain what questions they may have and why they have them in the first place.

  12. Robert Kellogg June 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    What saddens me the most is that 2 great LGBT leaders are being dragged through the mud. I honestly believe both know and believe they are right and much of this is a miscommunication and understanding of words/terms and legalities. I would like to challenge some independent group to hold a private meeting with all parties involved and have a face to face dialogue to resolve this matter. The last thing we need is for 2 of our biggest and brightest advocates to have a shadow of doubt cast over them or for the inclusive message of the Democratic Party to be sullied. Nobody wins here and we are all on the same team.

    1. Robert, you are exactly right. I know both of these outstanding women and this public feud is regrettable. We need both of their efforts focused squarely on strengthening the position of LGBT people within the Democratic Party. Particularly, with regard to trans members and trans issues, as this article (aside: nice work, Matt) makes quite clear.

      A sit-down meeting facilitated by a trusted individual or small panel is probably needed here. Let’s get Janice full membership in the DWMC, recognize Concetta’s decades-long fight for equality and bring this entire unfortunate matter to a close.

  13. Jyoti Friedland June 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I’m sorry Janice, you should not be treated that way, and nobody should be treated that way. You know it already that you are welcome as member in the club.
    To Concetta, could you please be humble enough to apologize, and I believe by saying” I’m sorry” will end it all.
    We’re all Democrats,we’re all working so hard for the principles of our Democratic party.
    And most of all we’re humans, capable of making mistakes.

  14. Farish Cunning July 2, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Bravo, Lesbian Democrat! Your post was brave and true. It’s time we dropped the B and T from GLBT. They have their own agenda, and it doesn’t include us. They should advocate for themselves and not expect us to do it. As for “Janice”, he is registered as a male, and appears unquestionably male, so it’s self-evident he should be excluded from women’s groups–no matter how he “identifies”.

    1. Thank you for providing positive proof that those like you still exist within the Democratic party, as so many don’t believe it.

      Please continue to publicise your views. It is only by that that the DNC can see that there’s a real problem here.

  15. Janice Covington July 5, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I would like to make a clarification and comment to this story. As you can read in my original statements, I never gave out the identity of the person who spoke to me until I was interviewed by Q-notes and only did this after prodding by Matt, I even asked him not to print her name because the fact that she identified to me she was a lesbian was not an issue with me, but he said it was bigger than me and it was an LGBT issue, It was about transgender acceptance in the LGBT community.

    When I was approached by Miss Caliendo she did not come out and say Janice I am an out Lesbian initially, I had not a clue, I have never met her. She said she was asked to speak to me and identified herself as the Vice Chair of the North Carolina Women’s Association and only after her comment that I would be more suited with the men’s organization of the Democratic Women’s, I showed extreme displeasure by stating that is not an option, along with being unacceptable and I ripped my name tag off, did she say she was an out lesbian and also vice chair of the LGBT caucus. To me it didn’t make a difference, it was not about her being a lesbian, it was about that fact that this person was telling me things that did not sit well with me. I did not care what she identified as and all I knew was my rights was being violated.

    If I wanted to blast the fact that Miss Caliendo was a lesbian, I would have blasted it all over the WSOC and Fox news TV interviews. The fact that she was a lesbian did not play into the situation; the only story was that the Democratic Women’s Association was denying my rights as a transgender woman to be a member.

    Let me make this clear it was not about Lesbians verses Transgender, it was solely about my rights as a transgender woman. These HATE comments in the comment section by self-identified lesbians calling me a man because of my Gender Identity, Gender marker and I look like a man has played on my feelings as an activist. The fact that I am 66 years old and have been out for 45 years has no bearing on who I am and can control, I am me. Unlike gay men and lesbian women who can blend into society and hide the fact that they are gay, I as a transgender can’t. Gay men can dress like any other man not wearing their sexual preferences on their sleeves and the same with many lesbians. I can only say, I as a transgender woman have been under doctors care here is Charlotte, receiving HRT [hormonal replacement therapy] for many years. Also with the Veterans Administration as a disabled veteran, I am being treated as a transgender woman and just two weeks ago VA had me have a Mammogram. So you see I am who I am.

    All my life I stood up for the weak, even in Junior High school when the bully’s would pic on the weaker kids who were obviously different, I would say no and not allow it . They would have to fight me instead of beating on another kid because they were different. I was a strong kid because when I was eleven years old, I was taken to the doctor where the doctor said I was not developing as a boy. This was in 1957, I was pumped full of testosterone for an entire two years and beat with a black rubber hose by my father for being transgender. So you see I grew up hard, this is what makes me stand up and venture into places where others haven’t, like the Democratic Women’s Association and putting myself out there to be a the first Delegate in history to the DNC from North Carolina. If you think, I didn’t her the ridicule, comments and see the stares from the heterosexual community because of this think again. If you don’t believe me I can have my brother issue a statement verifying what I say that happened to me when I was young and innocent.

    For the last few days I have been sitting around doubting my purpose as an activist. I have always championed the cause of the entire LGBT and now I am saying to myself, what for? is it worth it. I would have never expected the hate and meanness from my own community; like I said this was not about Miss Caliendo being a lesbian. It was about the rights of all transgender women and men.
    If you want to spue more hate then have at it.

  16. I have just read this and am very shocked to see an activist like Janice Covington being crucified by the very community that she has loved and advocated for most of her life. Janice has done more to bring our cause forward than any 50 people that I know. She has put herself out in front of the world as the first delegate from the state of North Carolina who just 4 months earlier voted in Amendment One. Janice has always held her head high and it just sickens me that she was treated like a common dog. Janice we love you.

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