SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The White House announced today that Fiona Dawson, director and producer of The New York Times Op-Doc, Transgender, at War and in Love, has been selected as one of this year’s Champions of Change.
The White House Champions of Change program recognizes Americans making positive changes in their communities, and this year’s event honors individuals advancing LGBT rights through art.
“The 12-minute video is a poignant portrait of a transgender military couple banned from openly serving their country. By telling the stories of our nation’s transgender service members, Dawson brings the impact of the military ban into sharp focus,” said Palm Center director Aaron Belkin, who nominated her for the honor. “Her film helps viewers understand what it means for transgender troops to risk their lives for freedoms they’re unable to enjoy themselves. I applaud Fiona for this deeply deserved honor.”
Dawson is also creator of the media project TransMilitary, which set out to contrast the lives of transgender military personnel in the US armed forces with British counterparts who have served openly since 1999.
“I’m incredibly honored by this White House award. This accolade belongs to all of the tenacious individuals who have been doing the work for open transgender service,” said Dawson. “It belongs to the thousands of transgender service members waking up each day and performing their jobs under the pressure of pretending to be a gender they are not. It’s also for the believers in the power of film, like the Palm Center, who supported TransMilitary and made Transgender, at War and in Love possible.”
This year’s honorees will be featured at an event on Monday, November 23rd at 1:00 pm (ET) in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) in Washington, D.C. The event will feature all of this year’s Champions of Change honorees on a panel to discuss their work and the challenges and opportunities they have encountered.
Commissioned by the New York Times and produced by Dawson in partnership with Side X Side Studios, Transgender, at War and in Love was released June 4, 2015 as part of The Times’ editorial series, “Transgender Today.”