2017 NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY LUNCHEON
This inspirational community luncheon gives voice to the power of living openly, honestly and with authenticity at work, in our families and in our communities of faith. The realities of living anthentic life are deeper than being "out". We all have many layers of identity and we must work together to create a world where people can bring their "whole self" to everything they do.
This year's event will be held on Wednesday, October 11th at the beautiful McNamara Alumni Center located on the University of Minnesota campus (200 Oak St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455)
As a passionate human rights advocate, Judy Shepard encourages audiences to fight for inclusion, social justice and equity for the LGBTQ communities. She draws from personal tragedy to promote a greater understanding of LGBTQ issues and empower audiences to embracehuman dignity and diversity through outreach and advocacy in their own communities.
In 1998, Judy lost her son Matthew to a murder motivated by anti-gay hate that shocked and captivated the nation. Turning tragedy into a crusade for justice, this leading voice in the LGBTQ rights movement has since established The Matthew Shepard Foundation to carry on her son’s legacy. Later, she spearheaded The Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded the federal hate-crime law to include crimes based on gender and sexual orientation.
The author of the best-seller, “The Meaning of Matthew,” Judy offers an intimate look at how her life and the entire fight for equal rights changed when her son was killed. With a name now synonymous with activism and equal rights, Judy leaves an indelible imprint with her words, compassion and raw honesty as she urges audiences to make their schools and communities safer for everyone, regardless of race, sex, religion, or gender identity and/or expression. (Biography adapted from: kepplerspeakers/judy-shepard)
ABOUT CPT TARRENCE ROBERTSON
CPT Tarrence Robertson enlisted in the MN Army National Guard (MNARNG) in 2005 as a Combat Medic. In 2008, he began the ROTC program at St. Cloud State University and later graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Bio-Medical Science and simultaneously received hiscommission as an Engineer Officer within the MNARNG.
Prior to undergoing gender transition, CPT Robertson came out as a lesbian in the Military in 2011 once “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed. While on deployment to Afghanistan from 2011-2012, CPT Robertson was distinguished as the first and only female to serve on a remote combat outpost in Zabul Province where he completed roughly 280 missions that mainly consisted of foot patrols in a very austere part of Afghanistan. His accomplishments on deployment include: earning a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge for achievements and actions during enemy combat; writing grant proposals for school and agriculture projects and implementing the programs when the grants were received; achieving the first-ever partnerships and joint security patrols between the Afghan Governor, Police, and Afghan Army within Mizan District; and establishing and sustaining a girl’s school kitchen-garden project.
After deployment, CPT Robertson continued to be distinguished for accomplishments prior to his gender transition. In 2013 he was recognized as “Outstanding Woman of the Year” by the MN Lynx/WNBA. In 2014, he was the first female in the state to take command of a formerly all-male combat arms unit where he oversaw the 130 Soldiers within the unit. Also in 2014, he was the first female in the nation to attend the Bradley Commander’s Certification Course where graduated at the top of the class and earned the title of the Distinguished Honor Graduate.
CPT Robertson came out as Transgender in 2016 after the military changed its policy allowing transgender service members to serve openly. He currently serves as a company commander overseeing 150 Soldiers in the Headquarters Company for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. Additionally, CPT Robertson is the Program Manager for the MNARNG Substance Abuse Program where he helps service members, family members, and units that need assistance, resources, or training.
ABOUT DAVE EDWARDS
Dave Edwards has been married to his wife Hannah for 11 years. They are the proud parents of two amazing little girls, the oldest of whom is transgender. Last June, the Edwards family won a $120,000 victory after their daughter experienced discrimination during her first year at her public school. Their settlement agreement with her former school helps establish guidelines for preventing and correcting discrimination based on gender identity and expression, and ensuring safe environments for student social transitions.
Dave has since become a passionate advocate for affirming school climates for transgender and gender diverse students, and is a board member of both Transforming Families MN and the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition. Despite recent national hostility towards LGBTQ students, he collaborated with leaders in the trans community to develop statewide guidance on supporting trans students, and secured a declaration from Governor Dayton proclaiming June 3rd, 2017, as the MN Day of the Transgender Child.
Professionally, Dave is the lead instructor in the Emotional Behavioral Disorders teacher licensure program at the University of MN, where he is also a Ph.D. student in Educational Psychology. His program of research focuses on the development of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to create gender inclusive school climates. As a facilitator with Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools, Dave regularly provides training to school staff on the LGBTQ inclusive practices.
ABOUT ZAYLORE STOUT
Zaylore Stout moved to Minnesota in 2007, from California, to attend the University of St. Thomas School of Law. During his tenure, he won the Living the Mission Award, was internationally published, was a finalist in the National LGBT Bar Association Student Leadership Award, named one of Instinct Magazine’s Leading Men of the Year, and elected President of Student Government.
Since graduating from law school in 2010, Zaylore Stout has served as a fierce advocate on LGBT issues. Zaylore founded his own law firm, Zaylore Stout & Associates, which handles employment law matters which include sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage & hour disputes. He’s represented clients fired from their jobs for being HIV+ and protected transgender employees who were “outed” or treated differently by their supervisors.
Zaylore Stout’s community efforts have included volunteering through the LGBT Law Clinic, being board member for RECLAIM, confronting Chick-Fil-A regarding their anti-inclusion history, and advocating for the passage of a Gender Inclusion Policy to transgender and gender non-conforming youth in local schools.
Zaylore has served his communities for many years in different capacities, and at such a time like this, his service on the St. Louis Park Human Rights Commission and impressive run for City Council makes him an inspiration to all within our community.
ABOUT JANA SHORTAL
A full bakers dozen. That’s how many years Jana has worked as a journalist for KARE 11 news here in Minneapolis – it is also the same amount of time she has spent wondering if shecould ever really be that much needed addition to the now defunct Destiny’s Child. But she’s for sure gonna name her first child, Destiny, just to get remotely close to that brand.
Other tidbits. She is from a town you’ve never heard of but it’s a 40 minute drive from St. Louis. She once sold her ten year anniversary gift from KARE 11 to an ex so she could buy a pair of Air Jordan’s. And her dog is named Vivian Ward. And yes, that Vivian Ward. She and Vivian heart Minneapolis so hard they sometimes cry about it when they take their morning poop walk.
You can see Jana weeknights on Breaking The News, KARE 11, at 6:30 pm.
To learn more about the event, purchase tickets, and to explore sponsorship and vendor opportunities, CLICK HERE!