Alexander “Bear” Goodrum was a Black disabled, bisexual transgender man, activist, and orator. Though known as an LGBTQ rights activist, particularly advocating for trans and gender nonconforming civil liberties, Goodrum also worked in each of these marginalized communities. Beginning his work in 1980, Goodrum was originally from Chicago, but made several moves to San Francisco and Tucson working as an activist for LGBTQ and social justice rights. Once in Tucson, Goodrum created, founded, and directed the TGNet Arizona, a grassroots transgender advocacy and resource center. He was also a board member of the Tucson GLBT Commission and the Funding Exchange’s OUT Fund, which provides grants (one of which is named after Goodrum) to LGBTQ community organizing projects. Goodrum made himself well known within the Arizona LGBTQ advocacy community and was instrumental in creating meaningful change for LGBTQ individuals in Arizona.
In 1999, Goodrum was able to include his work on gender identity for a non-discrimination law. He is also well known for his groundbreaking work with the Arizona Transgender Workplace Project, an educational workshop for employers to foster inclusive and safe working environments and understand the needs, challenges, and rights of transgender and gender non-conforming employees and applicants. Goodrum published a number of papers and articles and is widely known for Gender Identity 101: A Transgender Primer, which is still published on the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance’s website. In September 2002, Goodrum died by suicide in a psychiatric hospital in Tucson. It is important this Black History Month that we continue to uplift Black activists who have influenced incredible change for marginalized Black communities. Similar to the other activists featured in this month’s campaign, Bear Goodrum was aware of the need to have an intersectional approach to social justice issues. We must follow his lead in creating inclusive spaces for trans and gender nonconforming folks, people with disabilities, and LGBQ members in order to ensure the liberation of everyone.
For more information on #BlackTransHistory and other historical Black trans men figures please visit: The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition