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Why I'm an Ally

The following story was submitted by an individual to share her experience of LGBT support and advocacy with others. If you would like to contribute a story please Contact Us.

The History of My Advocacy

During my Freshman year of college at UWSP in 1995, one of my best friends came out to me while he was away at school in Minneapolis. I went to go visit him, and had an absolute blast hanging out with the LGBT community, and realized that there was a world completely different from the one I had been raised in. I knew, from that day on, that I was a Fag Hag, and I was destined to be more than just a housewife. My friends nicknamed me "The Fag Hag of the Midwest."

Then, in 1998, Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered in Laramie, Wyoming. At the same time, several friends of mine at UWSP who were openly gay were being harrassed, and in some cases having their lives threatened. Some even dropped out of college out of fear for their safety. I swore then and there that if I could help to prevent another tragedy like what happened to Matthew Shepard, I would do everything in my power. Thus, an advocate was born! Since then, I've been involved wherever possible in the fight against injustice and to work for equal rights for LGBTs. I began a "Zero Tolerance For Hate" program on the UWSP campus before I graduated, and I'm proud to say that they still use it today :)

I moved to Chapel Hill to continue my education and my career as an LGBT Advocate, and have since then become involved in various groups and causes both on campus and in the community. I am always willing to help out, so please feel free to contact me for assistance.

Cassandra M. Janowski
Social Research Associate
UNC Ophthalmology
5110 Bioinformatics Bldg., CB 7040
130 Mason Farm Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7040
Phone: 919 843-0076
Fax: 919 966-1908
Email: sandy_janowski@med.unc.edu