Sherri Rase: A journey of self-discovery, advocacy, and recognition

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Sherri Rase
Sherri Rase
Sherri Rase
Sherri Rase at Honor Awards in 2014

Sherri Rase is being celebrated and recognized with an upcoming award ceremony in September, where she will be honored. The award serves as a platform for Rise Up LGBTQ to acknowledge and appreciate individuals who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ community. Rase’s dedication to advocacy and her tireless efforts align perfectly with the organization’s mission, making her a deserving recipient of this prestigious recognition.

While Rase’s advocacy work has earned her recognition and respect, she remains humble about the upcoming award ceremony she will attend this September. She will be honored by Rise Up an LGBTQ organization dedicated to providing supportive healthcare for the LGBTQ community and allies. Rase believes in the power of tailored healthcare, where individuals can openly share their needs with providers who understand their unique experiences.

Rase’s journey began in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which is known for its vibrant community. Born and raised in what is now known as Wilton Manors, Rase and her identical twin sister, Debbi, grew up in a loving and supportive family. Being the more reserved of the two, Rase found solace in books, while Debbi excelled in sports and social interactions.

Childhood wasn’t without its challenges. Like many children, Rase faced teasing during her early school years. However, it was during her college years that she discovered her true self and found her place among like-minded individuals. Overcoming financial obstacles, she became the first person in her family to attend college, and it was there that she embarked on her transformative journey.

“The first time I ever saw the Marietta College campus was the day I moved in, I was just 17 years old,” Rase reminisces. “I was desperately lonely the first few weeks, but then, in my sophomore year, I met the woman who taught me what a kiss could really mean.”

Coming out as a lesbian was a pivotal moment in her life. Prior to that defining kiss, she had questioned her orientation, considering herself possibly bisexual. But after that experience, she knew where her path would lead. It took time for her to fully embrace her identity and find her place within the LGBTQ community. She chose to come out to her family when the time felt right, starting with her grandmother, who asked questions and expressed her love and support. Her mother took a little longer to adjust, but ultimately, her sister and mother embraced her wholeheartedly.

Reflecting on her childhood, Rase cherishes the memory of a year when she and her sister received cap guns and a dish set. This moment epitomized their adventurous spirit and their desire for nice things. It was an expression of their shared bond and the joy they found in each other’s company.

But life has not been without its challenges for Rase. As a dedicated advocate for LGBTQ rights, she has faced adversity. She recalls a distressing incident when a hateful package arrived addressed to her personally during her time as the president of the Gay Activist Alliance in Morristown. This experience solidified her commitment to standing up for her beliefs and the importance of fighting for equality.

Rase’s advocacy journey began early, with her involvement in Special Olympics during her high school years. Later, she joined a sorority in college because of its philanthropic endeavors. In 1989, she organized Womyn’s Erotica Night in Philadelphia, marking the start of her extensive involvement in the Pride movement. Through her activism, Rase has formed meaningful connections with people from around the world, recognizing the interconnectedness of life, work, and art.

Sherri Rase on the right with her twin sister Deb
Sherri Rase on the right with her twin sister Deb in 2013

Coming out at a time when the LGBTQ community faced immense challenges, Rase acknowledges the progress made but believes there is still a long way to go. She emphasizes the need for greater representation and equal treatment in the media and society at large.

Breaking free from binary constraints, challenging misgendering, and promoting inclusivity are all part of the ongoing battle for equality.

As an accomplished individual, her talents extend beyond advocacy. She loves to sing and has performed in various genres, from pop to opera. Her passion for writing shines through her wordplay and puns, and she has plans to revitalize her own website, Urban-Telegraph.com, to share positive news and updates.

For the next generation of LGBTQ leaders, Rase offers a powerful message: “Keep going. Rights worth having are worth working for.” She emphasizes the importance of standing together and supporting all communities seeking recognition and equity. Rase’s passion for the LGBTQ community continues to drive her forward, as she strives for a society that values equal rights, celebrates diversity, and acknowledges the accomplishments of every individual.

In Rase, we find a remarkable advocate whose journey from self-discovery to empowerment inspires us all to keep fighting for a more inclusive world. Her story reminds us that with love, support, and resilience, we can break barriers and create a brighter future for everyone. Rase’s journey from self-discovery to empowerment serves as an inspiration to us all.