Alexander John "Bear" Goodrum
October 3, 1960 -
September 28, 2002
News about the memorial services and other
developments can be obtained by sending an e-mail address to:
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
a grassroots transgender advocacy and resource organization
based in Arizona.
TGNet Arizona's most recent notable
accomplishment was a
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
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
Tucson's GLBT Community Center and
Arizona's GLBT mixed chorus.
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
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
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
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
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
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.