Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 26, Susan Allen

26 Jun

Today we honor and celebrate the first openly gay Native American to serve in a state legislature. Susan Allen was born in 1963 on the Ute Reservation in Utah. She is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Allen graduated from Augsburg College in 1992. She later earned a J.D. from the University of New Mexico and an LL.M. from William Mitchell College of Law. Her law practice specializes in serving tribes, helping them draft tribal laws in a wide range of areas.

When state Representative Jeff Hayden was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2011, Allen was one of four candidates to run for his vacated seat. She won the nomination and the special election handily. She is one of three LGBT members of the Minnesota legislature, a larger number than most states.

Allen is a fierce advocate for equality for all. She campaigned on a six-point platform: Economy, Education, Tax Reform, Health Care, Social Justice, and Marriage Equality. One key part of her campaign website shows her honesty, integrity, and determination.

Minnesota’s strong progressive values are under threat in the current political climate with attempts to roll back established environmental protections and regulations in our state laws.   I will remain committed to Minnesota’s proud legacy of protecting the land, air, and water for current and future generations. We are also witnessing the hurtful social division created by an attempt to amend the state constitution to deny rights to a specific population within our community.   I will fight the concentrated assault on our GLBT community members and families and be a passionate advocate for equal rights for all Minnesotans.

Congratulations on your election, Rep. Allen. The nation needs more leaders like you, but what is with some of the very bigoted folk you have in Minnesota, like Michele Bachmann?

20 Responses to “Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 26, Susan Allen”

  1. James Queale June 26, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Seems like a wonderful woman. Bachmann has overshadowed intelligent Minnesotans for too long. We need to see more of women like Susan.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 26, 2012 at 8:02 am #

      Yes, sadly people like Bachmann have really made Minnesota look like a bunch of Yahoos! How grateful I am for Susan Allen.

      • James Queale June 26, 2012 at 8:05 am #

        Unfortunately, it is hard to get sane voices out into the world because the media is obsessed with crazies, and this gives validation that is not warranted.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 26, 2012 at 8:09 am #

        You are right. It is easy to make money off of Bachmann, but who will pay attention to Allen–a champion for social justice?

  2. Didion June 26, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Here here. Love Allen. Love the love you’re showing her, Michael.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 26, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      Thank you! You are always so kind and generous of heart to me!

      • Didion June 26, 2012 at 8:18 am #

        It is all entirely deserved. Speaking of public service, I think that’s what these posts are all about — you’re doing a service for all of us.

        Quick question on an unrelated subject: I’ve been considering switching to using “LGBTQI” rather than “LGBTQ” — do you have thoughts on this designation? It seems that intersex is a growing category of people and needs recognition….. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 26, 2012 at 8:25 am #

        First, thank you for your very kind comments! Your good opinion means a great deal to me. Secondly, I am rather flummoxed by all of the letters (in a very noble attempt to be inclusive) I fear I never get it right. I have some intersexed friends, but they identify as transgender–which is now a very very large category. I’m not sure how to advise you, but may I ask if you should find an answer that is more respectful than what I am using, please let me know, so I can change my ways.

      • Didion June 27, 2012 at 8:05 am #

        I know, I know….the alphabet soup problem, the absurdist eagerness to be p.c. And god forbid someone try to come up with an umbrella term rather than this acronym. And yet I’m increasingly interested in the concerns of intersex peoples….

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 27, 2012 at 8:07 am #

        You bring up a very good concern, which makes me adore you. I will do some more research and just plain ask some people I know that are intersexed.

      • Didion June 27, 2012 at 8:11 am #

        The real problem is that none of these people are really all that similar to the others, right? I mean, lesbians and trans folk and intersex individuals might well have nothing in common other than they’re not heteronormative and cisgendered. It’s a weird grouping for that reason, and I wonder if it’s going to go by the wayside in the near future as conversations continue and/or the LGBTQI designation is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

        Because there are folks with multiple identities and overlapping identities, thus a great many folk at the intersections of oppression, I think the acronym will stay quite strong and the need for solidarity continues.

  3. James Queale June 26, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    It appears Michael that the burden is on us to talk and blog about people like Susan Allen. TV executives only care about ratings and defeating the other network in their time-slot.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 26, 2012 at 8:19 am #

      Yes, Economic Determinism. One of the reasons why I refuse to have advertisements on my blog.

  4. Christine Noble June 26, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    It is encouraging to see that Minnesota actually has more gay state reps than most other states (though a little sad that the others do not have more.) Little by little we climb that mountain and when we get to the top, no one will be able (or better yet, won’t even want) to knock us off.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 26, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      I hope you are right Christine. Let us hope that civil rights and social justice will prevail!

  5. Jay June 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    Many states that are strongly progressive in terms of state-wide office holders and Presidential electoral college tallies have one or more US Congressional Districts that are firmly, occasionally ferociously, Republican. Bachmann’s wack-a-doodle district is no more representative of Minnesota as a whole than the vast and reliably Republican Second District is representative of Oregon as a whole.

    As a resident of the state whose Governor is Jan Brewer, and whose Senators are named McCain and Kyl, I feel its important to differentiate a state with pockets of madness, like Minnesota, from the states where the lunatics are absolutely in control of all the instruments of power. (And here’s some comedy–Brewer is one of the saner local Republicans. You would not BELIEVE some of the bills that would be law in Arizona if not for her vetoes).

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 27, 2012 at 6:09 am #

      Thank you for reminding us all the importance of “differentiating a state with pockets of madness,” though I must confess, I almost feel as though we need to build an underground tunnel for you to escape Arizona.

      • Jay June 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

        Believe me, its tempting to flee, especially during the oven setting of “high broil” that is known as ‘summer’ here. The personal travails that induced me to want to be close to my family have been resolved, so it is within the realm of reasonable possibility for me to make another big move. But my job and my Dad’s health both argue for me sticking around, so I’m reconciled to enduring this political and climatic inferno for a couple more years, when I’ll reassess things.

        Thanks for the suggestion of tunneling me out–that’s a kind offer.
        I’ll eventually leave here, but it won’t be via a metaphorical or literal tunnel–it’ll be on my own terms, in the light of day, with head held high.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm #


        I feel better just knowing that at some point you: “I’ll eventually leave here, but it won’t be via a metaphorical or literal tunnel–it’ll be on my own terms, in the light of day, with head held high.”

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