Raising Awareness, Kim Michaels Style
Standing up against North Carolina's Amendment 1.
On May 8, 2012, North Carolina will vote on Amendment 1. Amendment 1 will define marriage as a union between a man and woman. This amendment, if voted in, will also add the ban of same sex marriage to the state constitution.
When I was young I was told that the constitution was put into place to protect my rights as an American citizen. Maybe my teachers should have waited to explain the constitutional freedom I am privy to until I came out of the closet. Maybe if I was told as a child that I am only as free as someone else deems fit then I wouldn’t expect my rights as a human being to be protected now.
People laughed at me when I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. They couldn’t understand how I could leave the city life for the country. When I stepped into Greensboro I fell in love with the trees, with the southern hospitality and fresh air. It wasn’t until late last year, when talk of this amendment started to surface, that I realized that same-sex loving people in North Carolina have strides to take to be accepted.
In some circles it is said that the young lesbians of today do not stand up for their rights like our predecessors once did. They say we don’t picket enough, or vote enough, or speak out enough. If those same people would take a moment to speak with activist Kim Michaels they would know that they have misjudged young lesbians.
When Kim heard about Amendment 1 she became outraged. She used her anger as a fuel to develop a strategic plan of action. Not only did Kim decide to spread awareness about what the state was imposing, she also wanted to get other young people involved.
Kim Michaels decided to host a huge event in Greensboro during ACC weekend, an event that celebrates women’s basketball and attracts lesbians from all over the globe. She also invited the reality television stars from the Real L Word after meeting them in Las Vegas. Her plan didn’t stop there. Kim invited non-profit organizations and vendors from the surrounding area to come to the event, including a group to help register voters and get patrons to sign a petition opposing the amendment. Under one roof she managed to take a stand, educate, support and have fun.
Party-goers at the event.
During Kim’s preparation for the event she attended many rallies surrounding the amendment and noticed that there weren’t a lot of young participants. So while she went around North Carolina spreading the word about the event, she also had a handfull of voter registration forms, which she handed out to possible patrons. She said, “One night I was out talking about the event and registering voters, when one young lady asked me how much it was to register to vote. She had no clue that it was her God given right as an American citizen to vote and it was free.”
The event was an opportunity for not only potential voters, but also organizations such as the Omni Project and The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families to come out and meet their supporters as well as gain new ones. In attendance were also Misty and Sarah, the masterminds behind Proud Threads, an up and coming online LGBT clothing company.
Kim's main focus of the event was registering voters, getting the community to vote against Amendment 1, and bringing together a generation that was once thought of as lost. The profits made from the event will go back into holding a similar event after the May 8th vote. Despite the outcome of the vote, Kim Michaels will not stop her efforts to raise awareness and stand-up within a state that is doing its best to get the LGBTQ community to stand down.
Spoken Pandora writes for Curve's sister magazine, LOTL. She defines herself as a tattooed gypsy that travels literary worlds through seductive dialect and vivid imagery. Aside from writing lesbian erotica poetry she has also written her first novel entitled Haven: The First Taste, the first book in her BDSM lesbian erotica series. The release of her novel prompted her to explore other writing endeavors and her work will appear in three lesbian anthologies in 2012 including The Perverts of Color and Life, Love, & Lust 2011. Spoken currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, but has made homes in Florida, New York, and Atlanta Georgia.