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The White House has a project called Champions for Change, explained here by Valerie Jarrett:

June's Champions of Change will be drawn from the LGBT community, in honor of Pride Month.  Submissions closed May 4.  Semifinalists should be chosen in the next week or two.

Part of what makes this candidate stand apart is that he has a PR firm on his side.  I suppose by posting this, I have become part of his PR network.  So be it.  I believe in his cause.

Tony Ferraiolo is a certified life coach (a questionable occupation in my view, but to each his own), a trainer, and a speaker.  More important to my way of thinking is that he is an advocate for trans youth.

I realized that I had the opportunity to create myself into the person who I always wanted to be.   I remember asking myself,  what do I need to do to become that person?  There was a very long list of “To Do’s.”  I knew that the anger I carried would transfer over into the person I wanted to create, so I worked very hard to let go of it.  I forgave everyone who abused me, including myself.  Once I let go of my anger, my soul filled with compassion.  I believe that you must see the dark before you see the light — and that some of us must struggle through the challenges we face because it is part of the growth.  I can honestly say that I would not change anything about my past.  I truly believe that my past is what created "Tony."
Now he has an opportunity to work on his mission in the White House.  Tony is one of the nominees in the first ever White House LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Challenge.  Each contestant had to submit a video entry about their commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens.

Tony has a bit of an advantage in that he is the subject of a documentary currently in production by Lori Petchers with the working title, Work in Progress.  The documentary was distilled into the three minute official submission below:

Tony also participated in the I'm from Driftwood project, resulting in the following video produced by Crush Deviant:
Tony is cofounder and president of the Jim Collins Foundation.  He has founded and facilitates two youth groups in the New Haven, CT area:  Create Yourself is an art group for transgender and gender non-conforming children under age 12 and Translation is a support group for transgender teens from age 14 and up.  No fee is charged for membership in those groups.  Tony also assisted in forming TransPact, a free support group for parents of transgender and gender non-conforming children.

Tony was also featured in a 2009 article on workplace diversity in Fortune Small Business by CNNMoney, back when he worked in industry, and was a winner of a Dorothy Award in 2011.  The Dorothy Awards recognize people in the New Haven GLBT community who make a difference.

Voting for finalists will take place in June.

Originally posted to TransAction on Fri May 18, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women.

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