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S.C. increases trans focus
Groups across the state working for inclusion

by R.C. Wilson . Contributing Writer
COLUMBIA — At their October meeting, the Board of the South Carolina Gay & Lesbian Pride Movement (SCGLPM) voted unanimously to broaden their guiding principle to officially include bisexual and transgender people. According to the bylaws of SCGLPM, which was founded 18 years ago, the original mission statement seeks to support, celebrate, educate and advocate on gay and lesbian issues.

The decision publicly changes the dialogue and focus of SCGLPM, which is best known for organizing SC Pride (which recently celebrated its 16th year as its largest ever). The group also owns and operates the Harriet Hancock Community Center in Columbia.

As reported in the Oct. 20 issue of Q-Notes, SCGLPM was one of many state organizations to criticize U.S. House leaders’ decision to strip transgender protections from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). SCGLPM’s board voted unanimously to ratify their president and vice president’s decision to join hundreds of national and state organizations in the United ENDA campaign.

Another milestone act occured in September when SCGLPM appointed their first ever transgender board member, a clear statement of the organization’s desire to better serve the “T” in “LGBT.”

In addition to SCGLPM’s efforts, the South Carolina Equality Coalition, Alliance For Full Acceptance and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) South Carolina are also members of United ENDA who have been actively lobbying the House for passage of ENDA complete with transgender protections.

At the college and university level, discussions on transgender inclusion are also taking place. The University of South Carolina’s Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Straight Alliance celebrated National Coming Out Day by hosting a panel discussion about life as a transgender person.
The “Trans-USC” forum included three members of the internet-based social group Trans-Carolina. The trio spoke to a gathering of about 40 students and staff, detailing the unique perspectives of a diverse community that is generally lumped under the umbrella term “transgender.”

The panelists described themselves in different ways. One identified as a crossdresser, another as a non-op transgender person and the third as gender queer. For many attendees, the terms were new additions to their understanding of the LGBT community. Attendees directed questions to the panelists about their lives and the proper use of terms.

The ninth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, on Nov. 20, will be recognized by SCGLPM this year. They are encouraging all Carolinas LGBT and allied groups to add the Day of Remembrance to their annual events calendars.

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