2015 TwN Purple Butterfly Award Recepient
Dawn Josephine Wilson is a professional person and Kentuckian with extensive accomplishments in the business, educational, and TBLG communities. She holds a B.A. in Political Science/International Affairs from Transylvania University, and a Graduate Studies/ MBA from the University of Kentucky. She has been interested for 20 years in transgender civil rights and the intersectionality between transgender rights and human rights, always stressing the need to present a professional public image, as well as the need to work as a team with allies to guarantee basic rights to as many disparate groups as possible.
After working on Capitol Hill, and following her transition, Dawn brought her skills to the first Transgender Lobby Days event in 1995, helping train transgender people how to effectively lobby Congress, and participated in Lobby Days in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2007. She was the first chair and one of the organizers of the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) in 2000.
In 1998, Dawn joined the Louisville Fairness Campaign, working to educate the GLB community, as well as public office holders, on transgender issues. During the push to pass GLBT civil rights laws in Lexington/Fayette County, KY; Louisville, KY; and Jefferson County, Ky. in 1999, Dawn testified before 6 town hall meetings, and met with city councilmen, officeholders, and aldermen about the need for transgender inclusion in civil rights laws, am effort that proved to be successful. In 2004, the Fairness ordnance was reconsidered and passed before the new merged Louisville Metro City Council, again with Dawn contributing lobbying, educational, and strategic force.
In 2000, Dawn was awarded the IFGE Trinity Award.
In 2004, Dawn joined the board of the Council for Fairness and Individual Rights (C-FAIR), the Fairness Campaign's PAC, and remains a member of the C-FAIR board today. In 2006, she became the co-chair of C-FAIR, a position she held until 2012.
Dawn currently serves as a Commissioner on the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission. She was appointed by Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson in 2010, and was reappointed by current Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer to a second term in 2011. She is currently serving as the
Commission’s Education Chair, responsible to facilitate communications with the community at large, in an effort to establish dialogues around the current
disconnects that exist currently in the Jefferson County Public Schools, dealing with access and diversity. In 2014, she organized quarterly dialogues with the Jefferson County School Board, developing a partnership to create an environment that will foster learning at a higher level, engaging parents and the community at large. She was also very involved in the 2014 Atherton High School transgender restroom access issue, which allowed access to the restroom of gender presentation for transgender students, setting a precedent for other Jefferson County schools to follow on the transgender restroom issue.
Dawn serves as a member and trustee of Edenside Christian Church in Louisville, KY.