Charlene Strong didnt start out a gay rights activist. But after the tragic death of her wife of ten years and suffering the injustice of discrimination at the hospital and the funeral home, Charlene was on a new path. Now a tireless advocate for equality, Charlene has been instrumental in passing Washington States landmark laws on domestic partnerships -- the first in US history to be upheld by popular vote.
Her journey has been followed by Newsweek, The Advocate, Associated Press, Washington Post, CBS News, and The Seattle Times, Featured in the USA channel, "Characters Unite Documentary" with Tom Brokaw. The award winning documentary film "for my wife" in which she is also featured has been seen by audiences around the world. A spokesperson for The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Equal Rights Washington and GLAAD, Charlene maintains her story is an American story anyone can understand. As an American who believes strongly that all citizens are created equal, Charlene's passion makes her an excellent communicator who inspires others to add their voices as advocates for change.
Charlene has gone on to travel the country with a message that is opening hearts and minds about the collateral damage of inequality in our communities and country. With a focus on hospitalization and end-of-life decision rights, Charlene is working closely with the Washington Hospital Association to help craft education for front-line health care providers and staff in hopes that everyone who enters a hospital knows they are fully protected under the law.
In 2007, Governor Christine Gregoire appointed Charlene to be a Human Rights Commissioner for the state of Washington. Charlene's ongoing work and speaking of behalf of all families has brought her to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelious and the president of the SEIU, the largest nurses union in the nation.
Charlene has helped many organizations raise funds and awareness and has the ability to find the message in her speech that resonates with all ages. Her depth of passion and humor also help her to covey the importance and support that all families and individuals should expect in our country.
Not only has Charlene worked on behalf of family rights in her state, she believes strongly that her story is an American story that anyone can understand. As an American who believes strongly in the rights that all citizens are created equal, Charlene's passion makes her an excellent communicator that inspires others to add their voices as advocates for change.
Prior to her partner's death, Charlene worked with the Human Society's Pet Project, which provided HIV/AIDS patients with help and care for their pets. She designed and managed their veterinary clinic to insure pet care and wellness visits and implemented an intake committee to access candidate needs. She also worked with the Archdiocese of Seattle on an LGBT task force dedicated to improving acceptance and understanding within the Archdiocese of LGBT parishioners.
Before dedicating her life to same-sex marriage equality, Charlene worked in the dental field for over 20 years. She pursued a degree in interior design. She is a longtime resident of Seattle.
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