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News about the memorial services and other developments can be obtained by sending an e-mail address to: IRememberBear@transcribes.org.
Longtime transgender activist and Director of TGNet Arizona Alexander John "Bear" Goodrum took his own life on September 28. Goodrum, who was 41, has been recognized for his activism in the GLBT community for over 20 years in Chicago, San Francisco, and Tucson. The transgender community of Tucson, Arizona is very sad to report the passing of Alexander John "Bear" Goodrum. He would have turned 42 years old on October 3. Alexander was the creator, founder, and director of TGNet Arizona (www.tgnetarizona.org), a grassroots transgender advocacy and resource organization based in Arizona.
TGNet Arizona's most recent notable accomplishment was a Transgender Workplace Project (ATWORK), an informational and educational program to help employers better understand the issues, needs, and rights of gender-variant employees and applicants. The groundbreaking first employers' workshop was held in Tucson in August 2002.
Goodrum was a bisexual, disabled, African-American, transgender (female-to-male) person, who worked with the various communities in an effort to educate and win equality. He was also the opening night keynote speaker at the 2002 True Spirit Conference in Washington, DC. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Alexander had been involved as an activist in GLBT organizing and social justice issues since 1980 in Chicago, San Francisco and since 1996, in Tucson. He was African-American, Transgender (Female-to-Male), queer-identified (bisexual), and disabled, and worked extensively in each of those communities. In addition to the TGNet Arizona web site, he published numerous articles and papers, and is perhaps best known for his widely published paper, Gender Identity 101: A Transgender Primer.
Alexander had more than 20 years experience in organizational development, grant writing and research, and community building. He was a member of the City of Tucson GLBT Commission and an Activist/Panelist for the Funding Exchange's OutFund for Gay and Lesbian Liberation. A dynamic and eloquent orator, Alexander was a frequent panelist and guest speaker both locally and nationally, addressing a wide variety of audiences on gender-related matters. He was the opening night keynote speaker at the 2002 True Spirit Conference in Washington, DC. He was active in the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance and was a former member of the Board of Directors of Wingspan, Tucson's GLBT Community Center and Desert Voices, Arizona's GLBT mixed chorus.
Alexander took his own life the morning of Saturday, September 28 while under observation at La Frontera Psychiatric Hospital in Tucson. A memorial service is currently being planned in Tucson for the evening of Saturday, October 5. Further details will be announced as soon as they are available. If you'd like to be included in any news about services, memorial efforts, and related developments, please send your email address to IRememberBear@transcribes.org.
Alexander was preceded in death by his father, Walter P. Goodrum, Sr., and beloved step-father Willie E. Brown. He is survived by his mother Patsy Brown of Las Vegas, Nevada; sisters Meda Robinson of Chicago, Illinois, and Alicia Golden of Bellwood, Illinois; one brother, Walter P Goodrum, Jr. of Las Vegas, numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews; and a huge circle of friends worldwide who are devastated by the loss of this brilliant soul.
Hotter Than July 2002
Mr. Alexander John Goodrum
of TGNet Arizona
Sexual orientation different than gender
Letter to the Editor of the Arizona Daily
Regarding the story "Gay community gains sexual freedom" on June 20, I would like to clarify the following statement made in the piece - "One in 10 of the population is not straight, meaning they're bisexual, transgender, gay or lesbian." The reality is that being transgender is not the same as being gay, lesbian or bisexual. As reflected in the above quote, there remains a great deal of unnecessary confusion about the difference between sexual orientation (i.e. hetero-, bi- or homo-sexuality) and gender identity.
To put it simply, gender identity is who you are and sexual orientation refers to who you love or have sex with. They are two completely separate concepts and a certain gender identity does not necessarily mean a certain sexual orientation. A person who is transgender may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or even straight.
If anyone would like to learn more about transgender, transsexual and gender-variant people and the issues they face, I invite them to visit the Web site of TGNet Arizona, an educational, advocacy and outreach organization for, by and about the transgender, transsexual and gender-variant communities of Arizona at www.tgnetarizona.org.
Alexander John Goodrum
Director TGNet Arizona
message from ButchDykeBoy.com message board
Subject: [GRAD-G] Alexander John "Bear" Goodrum
I received a call from a friend in Tucson this morning that a good friend and true pioneer in our community, Alexander Goodrum, took his life Friday night. Alexander had been suffering from depression and was in a community facility, where he apparently hanged himself overnight.
Some of you probably knew Alexander, and others of you may have heard of him. If it was not for Alexander, Tucson would not have had an anti-discrimination ordnance that was Trans-inclusive. I can still remember him telling me the story on how he stood his ground at a meeting on the city ordnance, insisting that gender __expression had to be in the bill. I was impressed at his strength. He was one of the people early in my activism career who showed me, by example, the right way to be an activist. He helped mold me as an activist when I lived in Arizona. He also helped make me a better person.
He was a gentle man, but never wanted to be referred to as "Alex," because it did not sound as dignified as "Alexander." Some knew him by "John," and others by "Bear." I knew him as "Friend." He has always had a special place in my heart, and now, that heart is breaking.
Our community has lost a shiny beacon, in a state where Transgender activist are few and far between. Why he took his life is not for any of us to ponder. I feel sad that he could not see himself as his friends and fellow activists saw him. All we can do is to mourn, and to move on, remembering the lessons he taught us. And, here I sit, 2000 miles from Tucson, alone with my tears and my memory. I have a picture on the wall of him, and I have not yet brought myself to look at it. I may, one day.
Alexander was one of those rare souls who we get blessed with in knowing. He has helped many in his time with us. His work will go on helping many others who are not even born yet. They will be his true legacy.
Alexander John "Bear" Goodrum, we will always remember you.
Gender Identity 101: A Transgender Primer
Transgender? Sexual reassignment? Intersex? What do all these terms mean? This is the place to start to learn about who we are and what issues we face.
Are You Protected? -- If you're transgendered, most likely not. Currently, only the City of Tucson includes gender identity in its human rights protections in the state of Arizona. Check here to learn more about this historic protection and what to do if you are a victim of discrimination based on your gender identity in Tucson.
Resources and Organizations in Arizona -- Need to know what is going in the GLBT community here in Arizona? Check here for a listing of some of the GLBT organizations and groups in our state.