• James Robinson

Elizabeth Crankshaw "Characters Unite Awards" Submission



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I would like to introduce you to Elizabeth Crankshaw. She has had an amazing impact on my life over the last three years. When I first met Beth I knew very little about what it means to be transgender or about the transgender community. Through her steadfast example of kindness and acceptance of others she has helped me understand the unique challenges and needs facing transgender people.

I would like to introduce you to Elizabeth Crankshaw. She has had an amazing impact on my life over the last three years. When I first met Beth I knew very little about what it means to be transgender or about the transgender community. Through her steadfast example of kindness and acceptance of others she has helped me understand the unique challenges and needs facing transgender people.

I cannot begin to cover all that she has done for me, our organization (GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc.), and our community. When I first met her, she had taken the leadership role for the North Alabama Gender Center. This group is the only support group meeting regularly for the transgender community in our region of the country. She continues to serve as the group facilitator and our community’s primary resource on transgender issues.

Beth became aware of our organization and saw my desire to include support for the transgender community among our services. First, she became involved as a volunteer for our youth group and other programs. When the opportunity came to expand our board of directors, I invited her to join the board. She accepted and is now in her second year as our board chair.

She has been active in our advocacy work and has spoken professionally on issues affecting the GLBT community with emphasis on the transgender community to organizations, undergraduate and graduate social work classes, diversity panels in both education and corporate settings, represented the local transgender community in a CNN interview for a special story CNN was airing, and given talks to local high school and university Gay Straight Alliances. Through her dedication and service she has proven herself to be an invaluable resource for our community.

As I got to know Beth, I learned that in addition to her work for the GLBT community, she has supported the local V-Day organization’s events over the last six years. V-Day is an organization working to bring awareness to the violence that women and girls face around the world. Their events send out a call to end that violence. Through her volunteer performances in local productions of the Vagina Monologues and other works of Eve Ensler that are provided to local organizations for this purpose Beth has worked to end violence toward women and girls. While part of these fundraising activities support the V-Day organization, the majority of funds raised through these performances support local organizations that provide services to women and girls.

Beth’s public advocacy is even more significant because it has taken place in Alabama. She lives a life of humble courage in a region where most gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are afraid to live openly. Beth has the love and support of a diverse community because she chooses to live an open, honest, and public life in order to help others.

March 15, 2013

Submitted to "Characters Unite Awards"

- James Robinson


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