My first encounter with Joanne occurred while attending my very first venture into the real world as Samantha. I was the first to arrive at the designated restaurant, and in fear and trepidation I presented myself to the manager, stating the reservation. To my horror there was no reservation! But the manager, seemed to know the name I stated, and took me to a table at the back of the restaurant where I sat, alone, waiting for someone else to show up.
On my way to the table I noticed three women sitting at another table. Two of them looked like trans women. Really, they were easy to "read". The third looked directly at me as I passed, and I was positive she had me "pegged" as well.
I did not have long to sit alone, for this woman left her table and came over to me and asked if I might like to join them at their table while I waited for my friends to show up. I accepted the invitation gladly. I was no longer alone.
Joanne is a kind and caring individual, one who knows the loneliness that is so often experienced by transgender people. She "has been there, done that, got the t-shirt". Having lost her family, her career, and her dignity, she knows the pain and suffering experienced by those reduced to bread lines and soup kitchens to exist.
One of the early members of Gender Mosaic, and its President for many terms, she has served the TGLB community for a good twenty years. A fierce advocate for the rights of trans people, she is still actively involved in educating the general public, and can be seen giving talks at schools, conferences, and political gatherings on a regular basis. She is a very busy person!
Joanne has become a well known figure in the Ottawa political scene. She is well respected and those in the city hierarchy listen to what she has to say. She has received so many honours and awards that youíll have to go to [her web site] to read them. I donít have room here.
And to top it all off, she has become a close, personal friend! I feel so blessed!
Thank you, Joanne, for all you have done for the trans community at large, and for me personally.
You are my hero, Joanne!