In September, Sharon-Franklin Brown made history when she became the first Black transgender woman elected president of the board of Christopher Street West/LA Pride, the 50-year-old organization that oversees one of the nation’s largest Pride celebrations. And Brown doesn’t take the role lightly.
“The job allows me the opportunity to give back to the community, which then echoes into dozens, if not hundreds, of smaller LGBTQ+ organizations and communities across the country,” she says. Brown and her team are committed to establishing “safe spaces that are not only diverse, equitable, and inclusive but also create a sense of belonging for everyone,” she adds.
Brown is also chief human resources officer at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where she oversees 800 employees in areas including organizational development and personnel policies. While the pandemic has changed how Pride and the workplace operate, she’s observed a tangible shift toward inclusion in both.
“The time for change is now, and I am a part of that change,” she says. “I’ve also been reminded [of] how resilient we are as a community. We are all trying to find creative ways to deal with the coronavirus pandemic as well as the attacks on LGBTQ+ civil liberties under the Trump administration. We will prevail.” (@lapride)