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Thirty Days of Love, Day 21: Honor the Extradordinary

Posted by Deborah Neisel-Sanders // February 5th 2012 // soundings, Stories and Voices // no comments

When: Feb 5 – Honor an extraordinary local individual or …

Staff Member: Office Administrator Deborah Neisel-Sanders
Description: Honor an extraordinary local individual, community partner, or organization with a “Love Award” for exemplifying the ideals of courageous love. Click here to download a list of ideas for Courageous Love Award honorees. Click here to download a courageous love award you can tailor for your local event.

Gunner Scott is my local hero and the recipient of my personal “Love Award.”  As founding member and executive director of Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition <www.masstpc.org> (as well as many other roles), Gunner has been on the front lines of the fight for transgender rights for 14 years.  Long before it was “cool” and back when such a thing was just a far-off dream, Gunner’s courage fueled his tireless work to ensure this dream could become a reality in our lifetimes.  Even in the face of momentous opposition from conservative ideologues, Gunner continued to fight for the rights of transgender people, building partnerships with and developing support from a lengthy list of organizations <http://www.masstpc.org/ter/coalition/> such as National Organization for Women (NOW), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), an interfaith coalition including the UUA, colleges and universities, and local chapters of unions.Just last month his hard work was rewarded as Governor Deval Patrick signed the “Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights” <http://www.masstpc.org/ter/about/> providing protection for transgender people and those who do not fit gender stereotypes in the important areas of housing, employment, education and credit.  Massachusetts now joins 16 states and Washington, DC in ensuring support against discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

At MTPC, Gunner also provides vital education, training and advocacy; information for transgender people about how to navigate the legalities of gender identity; employment assistance and discrimination reporting; and a (a full list can be found at the MTPC website here: <http://www.masstpc.org/projects/>).  Not only does he work on the big ideas and issues, this incredibly busy person always makes time to help an individual who finds themselves in a spot due to gender identity discrimination.

Gunner Scott has demonstrated so much courageous love, in my community and specifically for people I love, that presenting my own “Love Award” to him was a no-brainer.  His huge heart, big brain, and immense bravery have benefited the state of Massachusetts in ways few people are aware of.  I couldn’t be more grateful.

– Deborah.

About the Author

Deborah Neisel-Sanders is the Office Administrator for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. She can be reached at dsanders@uua.org.
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