In honor of Kimberlie Kranich

NOW Celebration of Feminism - Spring 2000

I am Mary Lee Sargent, and I am here to represent the 85% Coalition, a relatively new organization devoted to equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and any other category of human beings denied equal civil rights on the basis of sexual or gender orientation.

The 85% Coalition has chosen Kimberlie Kranich as our honoree today for many reasons, but two stand out. First, we honor her for her courage, for her guts, for having "skin as tough as rhinoceros hides", for her grace under fire. Very few people here can know the kind of courage it takes to stand up for LGBT rights in a country, a state, and a community that still dishonors and hates LGBT people. Her acts of conscience are comparable to standing up as a Jew in Germany and other anti-Semitic central and European states in the late 1930's. If you doubt this, you have not experienced personally or directly the power of homophobia, of gay hating, of heterosexual superiority and privilege.

Kimberlie is co-founder and co-coordinator of the 85% Coalition, and we also honor her for her gifts and talents and brilliance as an educator, an interpreter, a communicator, a writer and speaker For her patience and tact and diplomacy in dealing with the endless criticism that any progressive movement, any LGBT rights movement, especially any LGBT rights movement which uses the strategy of direct action and militant in-your-face protest, is bound to receive. She is Communications Central for the 85% Coalition and not only writes and disseminates all press releases and detailed reports of our actions, but also responds patiently and in depth to the criticism that we receive for being LGBT people period. As well as for standing up, for protesting, for doing direct action. The 85% Coalition honors Kimberlie with all our hearts.