- Health, Wellness & Sports
- Equality Directory
SEATTLE -- Charlene Strong, a human rights commissioner for the state of Washington and co-editor of The Seattle Lesbian, is embarking on a collegiate tour across the United States this Fall, to discuss same-sex partner hospitalization rights, end-of-life decision rights, marriage equality and other aspects of LGBT rights.
Strong will share her own personal experiences of tragedy and triumph, which were chronicled in the 2008 documentary, "for my wife ..."
The film details her efforts to change the laws in the state of Washington after being denied access to her partner's hospital bedside when a flash-flood accident caused her death in 2006.
Strong was then also blocked from making funeral arrangments, and realized things needed to change. She and her partner had been together for 10 years prior to the tragedy. Later that same year, Strong was instrumental in securing domestic partnership rights for same-sex couples in the Evergreen State, made possible through Referendum 71.
Late last year, Strong was featured on Tom Brokaw's "Bridging the Divide" documentary on the USA channel. According to TV Guide, "Bridging the Divide puts the spotlight on individuals across the country making a difference in the fight against social injustices."
Her speaking tour comes at a time when her personal story is considered to be very influential in the fight for marriage equality across the United States and repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
To catch a glimpse of Charlene telling her story, watch this 15 minute podcast from The Moth, where true stories are told live:
A personal stake
Strong never expected to become an LGBT advocate, but the wall of discrimination she faced as her personal tragedy unfolded before her gave her no choice. She wanted to help others in her same situation.
"I am deeply honored and thrilled to be sharing my unflappable belief in never giving up," Strong said about her upcoming tour. "I did not become an advocate for any other desire than my belief in being a voice of reason, compassion and understanding.”
Her current tour cities and locations are as follows. More dates are expected to be announced, soon.