Calpernia Sarah Addams is an American author, actress, musician, and
a spokesperson and activist for transgender rights and issues.
Addams was born on February 20, 1971, and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She served as a Hospital Corpsman with the Navy and United States Marine Corps. During her last year in the military she came out as a transgender woman. In 1999, while working as a performer, Addams began dating PFC Barry Winchell. Word of the relationship spread at Winchell's Army base where he was harassed by fellow soldiers and ultimately murdered. Winchell's murder and the ensuing trial resulted in widespread press and a formal review of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, ordered by President Bill Clinton. The case became a prominent example used to illustrate the failure of DADT to protect LGBT service members. Addams' and Winchell's romance and the crimes of their abusers are depicted in the film Soldier's Girl, released in 2003. Addams was portrayed by Lee Pace. A subsequent New York Times article, "An Inconvenient Woman", documented the marginalization and misrepresentation of transgender sexuality even by gay rights activists.
In May 2008, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chose Addams as PFLAG's spokesperson for their educational campaign, This Is Our Love Story. Addams said, "I hope This Is Our Love Story will help young transgender people as they come out. By seeing the happy, confident woman I've become, I hope I can act as a role model for these young people at a critical moment in their development." Addams writes a blog on gender issues for Psychology Today.
LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have contributed significantly in several ways to the advancement of our community. Limited by the number of days on the calendar, showcasing every individual who has made a major impact would be difficult. Yet, across decades and eras, revolutions and wars, and discovery and enlightenment, SPART*A honors past and present LGBT figures in our history this month.