We the People is a blog series that features the stories of members, supporters, volunteers, and allies of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota. Together we are accomplishing critical work in our state to protect and advance civil liberties across the midwest and beyond.
Reina 'Boots' Parker is the Community Action Liaison for Sioux Falls Pride, formerly the Center for Equality. Boots advocates across the state for LGTBQ equality through eduation and community based events and programming.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am passionate about human rights. I serve the LGBTQ2S community by teaching government offices, businesses, and service providers how to be most supportive of their gender and sexual minority customers and clients.
In 2002, when I was 16, I found a safe place from my abuse: The Center for Equality. A little yellow and maroon house on Dakota, I was able to be my genuine self without fear of violence, emotional abuse, or discrimination. As a suicidal teen in a home with homophobic parents, their youth group gave me what I needed to stay alive until I could get away from my family. After healing from my trauma, I thought it was my turn to serve the next generation of LGBTQ2S youth, the same way that The Center served me.
Do you have any words of advice for people who are looking to give their time to make the world a better place?
DO IT! If you impact just a single life in a positive way, you just changed the world. Be the change.
I go by Boots rather than my given name because it is non-binary and therefore does not imply my gender. Please, if you forget my name, look at my feet.