Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-06-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Trans delegate makes history at DNC
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Stephen Sonneveld
2012-10-02

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


"You know, I have a little saying. It goes, Never give up on your dreams, because your dreams become your reality. That's what it's been for me. Five years ago, I was destitute, and nowhere, almost living on the street. [Today] I'm financially secure, and nationally known. Not bad."

Those are the words of Jamie Dianne Shiner, a Green Bay, Wis., resident who became that states first transgender delegate to participate in a national political convention. What's more, Shiner was elected to attend the Democratic National Convention (DNC) from a traditionally conservative district.

"Northeast Wisconsin almost goes red up here in some instances, voting wise," Shiner told Windy City Times. "And to have the first transgender elected delegate in the state of Wisconsin come out of Congressional District 8 in Brown County is amazing to most people."

With Shiner's credentials, her election came as no surprise. She joined Fair Wisconsin in 2006 to combat a state constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions, campaigned for Obama in 2008, and served county and state-level positions within the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, including 1st vice chair of the LGBT caucus.

What did come as a surprise to many was Shiner's revelation about her gender identity. "I figure most of 'em knew, but nobody ever said anything," she said. "They're kind about it. They told me later, when I'd come out to 'em, that they didn't feel it was polite to ask a question like that. I mean, these are good people I'm with. Everybody's accepted me now; they know everything about me."

That spirit of inclusion followed Shiner from her Midwest home to Charlotte, N.C., the site of the DNC. The convention cemented the history-making endorsement of marriage equality in the party platform, a first for any national U.S. political organization.

This past June, Shiner and her colleagues helped entrench marriage equality in the Wisconsin Democrat's declaration, saying, "The state-level platforms have some influence on the federal levels. So I played a very little teeny part helping to put marriage equality into the national party platform."

In Charlotte, 8 percent of the entire delegation—486 delegates—were openly LGBT, 13 of whom were transgender. "It used to be, you'd go into these caucuses, all you ever heard was lesbian/gay community," Shiner said. "In the speeches in this [convention], it was gay, lesbian, transgender—nobody left off the word transgender, they knew there was a "T" on the end of LGBT. ... So, see, times have changed. We're making progress."

For Shiner and many other transgender people, President Obama is their ally in creating that progress. According to the volunteer campaign Trans United for Obama, the president has worked to end gender-identity discrimination in the federal government, and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first federal law to protect gender identity. He is also the first president to appoint openly transgender people to serve in a White House administration. As Shiner said, "He's the first one who's ever really helped us."

For Shiner, the "high point" of the convention was when Mike Tate, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair, "put me right at his side as he read the vote in. Yeah, that was quite an honor to stand there that close to [him] when we cast all 103 of our votes for President Barack Obama—quite a thrill. That's when you know you've made it big; they accept you. Life is good."

Things weren't always so optimistic for the retiree, though. "I spent 50 years as a male," Shiner explained. "Living that way, and you can't do nothing about it. I always thought that's what those rubber rooms are for—people like me. I went out and got myself a job as a construction worker operating heavy equiptment, those tough-guy jobs; Navy SEALs, police officers, firemen—tough guy. That's how you bury it. Eventually, it starts to consume you.

"You realize that if you want to stay alive, you've gotta do it. You also start to realize if you don't do something about it pretty soon, you ain't gonna be able to no more. You're not getting any younger." In May 2006, Shiner said she began facial feminization surgery, and by January 2007, "I went out to Trinidad, Colo., and Dr. Marci Bowers finished the job."

In the five years since a financially crippling divorce brought her from Michigan to Wisconsin, Shiner dedicates herself to helping others through localized political action, looking to be elected seconnd vice chair to the Brown County Democratic Party this winter. "The Republicans have shown what you can do when you control state houses and governerships," she said. "The legislation that can be passed on the state level—unreal."

Shiner's platform is uncomplicated: "You gotta help your fellow man. That's what being human is all about."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Thousands at Chicago's 20th annual Dyke March 2016-06-25
Reaction to UK referendum result, the ILGA-Europe perspective 2016-06-25
DNC video celebrates LGBT progress 2016-06-25
Lurie Gender and Sex program receives Pritzker $500K matching gift 2016-06-25
Transgender military ban to be lifted July 1 2016-06-24
Bipartisan gun-control measure introduced in state House 2016-06-23
Rep. Quigley to Address Equality Act at 35th Annual Proud to Run 2016-06-23
Transgender measure passes City Council vote 2016-06-22
National roundup: Gay trial lawyer, Anderson Cooper, Westboro counterprotest 2016-06-21
World news: Turkish parade, criminal negligence, EU consensus 2016-06-21
Oregon: Resident can change to nonbinary 2016-06-21
Donald Trump to Campaign, Again, with Anti-LGBTQ Leaders and Hate Groups 2016-06-21
Chicago Muslim and LGBTQ leaders unite against efforts to divide 2016-06-21
Diaspora forum opens eyes to persecution across borders 2016-06-19
New Employer Resource to Help End Transgender Employment Discrimination 2016-06-19
Sen. Durbin visit to Town Hall apartments spurs discussion on gun control 2016-06-19
Groups Call on Legislators to Reject Appalling Attacks on Trans Children 2016-06-19
LGBT Advocates Issue New Guidelines for Hospitals Treating Trans Patients 2016-06-19
Palm Center symposium on military trans ban 2016-06-18
Transgender Youth Employment Toolkit released 2016-06-18
Obama's weekly address: Standing with Orlando 2016-06-18
Claps to leave Department of Human Rights 2016-06-17
President Obama speaks in Orlanda, Florida 2016-06-16
Federal Judge grants intervention motion in case regarding trans students 2016-06-15
World news: Orlando reactions, Thai milestone and Ukraine parade 2016-06-15
Newest edition of Red Ribbon Cash ticket unveiled 2016-06-14
National roundup: Anti-trans incidents, politician's tweet, Texas murder charge 2016-06-14
Groups host 'Black and Brown Town Hall' 2016-06-13
VA proposes lifting ban on gender confirmation surgery for veterans 2016-06-11
HRC: Five Ways Donald Trump Would Roll Back LGBTQ Equality as President 2016-06-09
President Obama hosts his last LGBT Pride reception 2016-06-09
Obama endorses Hillary Clinton 2016-06-09
FACT SHEET: Obama Administration's Record and the LGBT Community 2016-06-09
City Council committee votes to advance trans measure 2016-06-08
Hillary Clinton's historic night shatters barriers 2016-06-07
National roundup: Military and Pride Month, Cyndi Lauper, trans survey 2016-06-07
Obama statement on 35th anniversary of HIV/AIDS in America 2016-06-05
Uptown Target counter-protest strikes emotional chord 2016-06-04
Trans United Fund releases Sanders answers, shares Clinton's Op-Ed 2016-06-03
Views: The Bathroom: America's New Civil Rights Battleground 2016-06-03
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.