It being Sunday, I figure I'll take a brief break from the spiritual search and journey for a day, leave the heavy lifting to the trained professionals and attend church to see what I can learn.
That said, I have some pretty cool news.
Last summer, I got interviewed by Curve Magazine, a big-shot lesbian magazine in the US. A really nice woman named Sheryl Kay came to Bar Harbor for something, I don't remember what (travel piece, maybe?), and was interviewing people and somebody said that I was the activist she ought to talk to (apparently she asked about local activists). So anyway, we met, had coffee, I gave her accurate directions (as opposed to the other kind we often give tourists) and I went on about my life. Occasionally I would get an email about when the thing would be published, but the campaign took over my world and eventually I just figured that my profile got tossed to the back of the pile in favor of more interesting or more photogenic subjects.
Then last week I got an email from the publishing people saying I was in the Jan/Feb edition and they'd be sending me a complimentary copy. Well, hot dog! So I put out the word to some friends to keep an eye out for the magazine. The closest place to me that carries it is in Bangor, out by the mall. Next closest would be Augusta, and then probably Portland. So my peeps were on the lookout. I got a call Thursday morning from Louise over at Pam's House Blend. She found a copy at Border's in Augusta and would send it to me directly. She read me a couple quotes, it sounded pretty good, and that was cool.
Well yesterday, I got BOTH copies of this gem in the mail - one from Louise and one from the magazine people. My blurb is on page 18 in a regular feature called "Out In Front." The deal is they profile three activists in each edition, and put a head shot of some kind with it. I was grouped in some pretty elite company: the executive director of a glbt organization in Sri Lanka, where gay stuff is still illegal, and a financial planner who specializes in helping women make and build wealth. I was the lead profile, and I think she did a pretty fair job of it.
I am not technologically advanced enough to scan the page into the computer, so here are a couple pictures -- one of the cover of the magazine so you can find it in your local news/magazine outlet, and one of the page where my little blurb thing is. Oh, and the text of my profile. I'm pretty pleased.
Here is the text of my piece:
Getting Things Done
She describes herself as caustic, grumpy, loud-mouthed, opinionated and leery of any authority. But Dawn Fortune will also tell you she "gets shit done."
Such has been the motto of this self-employed home repair contractor in Mt. Desert Island, Maine, pretty much since she came out in college.
"Coming out and becoming an activist seemed to be a no-brainer for me," recalls Fortune. "I figured out I was queer, moved in with my first girlfriend, then looked around and realized that there was a lot of injustice and a lot of people who wished us harm. Obviously, there was work to be done, so I got started in my little corner of the world and did what I could."
And since then, she hasn't stopped. After successfully founding the gay-straight alliance at the University of Maine at Farmington, Fortune went on to win the Social Issues Certificate of Recognition from the Network on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, followed by the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance Award. Fortune also devoted much of last year to the Freedom to Marry Campaign, in an effort to stop a people's veto of the marriage equality bill signed into law by the governor of Maine.
"Marriage is important because it recognizes our families and relationships, and it protects partners who have been married from the horrible things that can happen after one dies," notes Fortune. "Yes, we can have some paperwork, but not everyone recognizes that paperwork. Married? They don't argue. Besides, it's just fair. Isn't that enough?"
The future, says Fortune, will depend on a new model of activism that empowers the people at the grassroots level to take initiative and get things done in their own. The old guard, she says, is a top-down system.
"If the grassroots volunteers are not valued and are not respected and are not trusted to know their communities, they will lie down and the leaders will have no followers, " she says. But, she says when the leaders listen to the grassroots, "a guy with dark skin and a funny last name [can win] the highest office in America. And this is wonderful."