“Bridging the age gap between Gen X and Gen Y, this year’s selection of young activists, artists, and other standouts is proof the qualities that make a leader are often innate — and that the gay movement is still in good hands,” the article says.
We’d make that the LGBT movement, rather than just the gay movement, especially since transgender attorney Jamie Roberts is one of the two Atlantans who made the Advocate’s list. Mia Mingus is also honored.
Still, the choices make much more sense than the Advocate’s recent decision to name Atlanta as the country’s “gayest city.” We love that honor, but wish it had been LGBT civil rights protections — not bars and cruising spots — that put Atlanta over the top.
Here is how the Advocate describes Roberts and Mingus. Congratulations to these two leaders, and visit www.advocate.com for the rest of the story.
Mia Mingus: 29 / Atlanta; Activist, speaker
Mia Mingus has a refreshingly sunny disposition for someone who spends every day speaking against the big isms and phobias of the world—racism, homophobia, ableism (discrimination against disabled people), sexism, and classism. At the dozens of universities, events, and conferences where she speaks each year, Mingus, who uses a wheelchair herself, focuses on building strength in alliances, stressing that gay rights aren’t isolated from accessibility rights for people with disabilities. Mingus says she’s been lucky to make a living in activism and grassroots organizing. The next step in achieving equality, she says, is beyond getting diverse groups to show up at meetings. “Just being able to physically get into the door and communicate at meetings is a step,” she says of increasing disabled people’s involvement in LGBT advocacy. “But we have to move beyond access. It’s not enough to just be in the room, but we all have to be in on the conversation.”
Jamie Roberts: 38 / Atlanta; Public defender, activist
A lot can change between generations, but for Jamie Roberts’s family, the differences are staggering. While her parents attended segregated public schools in suburban Atlanta, now their bisexual, transgender daughter works as a public defender in Georgia’s five-county Coweta judicial circuit. Since she was a child, “a lot of things have changed for the better,” Roberts says of her home state, and through her visibility and advocacy, she has played a role in that progress. Roberts provides pro bono legal services to domestic abuse victims and the elderly and is active with numerous LGBT nonprofits, including Georgia Equality and MEGA Family Project. Her confidence has helped keep her largely immune to discrimination at work, to say nothing of the fact that she’s whip-smart and ambitious. Roberts believes her gender identity informs her abilities as a defense attorney: “Being raised as a future white male leader and then transitioning to female has deepened my empathy for those who didn’t have the advantages I had growing up—I know what it feels like to be an outsider.”