GO Proudly Presents: 100 Women We Love, Class Of 2020

Kendra R. Johnson

Photo Courtesy Of ENC.

“Me being out and visible means that some black queer kid somewhere in the South sees someone that looks like them talking about issues that affect them,” Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina, tells GO. “Working in a mainstream equality organization but talking about Black and Brown unity, incarcerated folks, resource-poor people, sex workers, trans and GNC liberation, and undocumented people means changing the narrative that the only thing that matters is marriage equality and bathrooms.” It’s this commitment to creating a more equitable South through diversity, safe schools, inclusive institutions, and welcoming communities that fuels Johnson’s passion, and it’s what has always made her a social changemaker, from her college days at Spelman — where she started their first lesbian and bisexual support group in the ‘90s — to volunteering communications services for Brazil’s first historically Black college. Johnson’s drive lies with creating equality regardless of identity, she says, because her own life has been so defined and judged by others. “The choices society presented me were filtered through the lens of race and gender and later sexual orientation,” she says. “It took a long time to find my voice and discover the impact I’d had and have on people.” But now, Johnson says she has the ability to help others feel powerful and inspired — unlike when she was growing up — and her favorite part of the work she does is knowing she’s making a difference. On top of working for Equality North Carolina, Johnson is also a former chair for Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and currently sits on the House of GG’s, created by trans activist and legend Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. —GP

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