Sabrina Taraboletti, A Personal Pride

Sabrina Taraboletti, Space Coast Pride 2015 Grand MarshallTBB was delighted to be one of the Grand Marshalls of the first Space Coast Pride Parade in Melbourne Florida this weekend.

Her three top moments?

3) Speaking with a woman who had to choose between the strictures of her fundamentalist church and being present for her gay child.  This woman was grateful for the support she had from PFLAG and other groups.   TBB spoke about the gratitude she has towards all the people who helped her find comfort and centering over the years and how she feels the need to pass those gifts on, taking leadership.  To keep the gifts, you give them away.

2) One person who felt some urge to get involved with the trans community because they needed to do some exploration of moving beyond gender expectations felt safe enough to engage TBB.  They are having dinner together on Monday.

1) When the festival was over, cleanup had to be done.  Being informed that the bathrooms needed cleaning, people looked at each other, but TBB stepped right up to do the work, rolling up her sleeves and scrubbing away.  The group saw why TBB has change so many lives by putting herself out front, whatever needs to be done.

For TBB, the power wasn’t in being in the spotlight but in doing the mature work to empower others, offering leadership that helped those around her to find their own strength, power and possibility.

With the support of many companies that would never have fielded connection to the LGBT community, the event was a huge success.   The huge pride flag became the symbol of a new and better day, something to gather under and around, a banner to wave with great and expansive pride.

TBB felt the old roles surface, facets of her that are often hidden in her everyday work.   She brought more of herself out, down to the black Mustang named Angolina that she bounded across the country in to get back for this event.  Even her Italian roots were honoured with coffee and pastries in a group of leaders who celebrated their Italian-American heritage after the parade.

Remembering the bittersweet energy that would surge through her after every Southern Comfort Conference, TBB offered support and guidance to the leaders of this event, as she remembered her own proud heritage and glimpsed a shared proud future.

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Grand Marshalls Barney Frank & Sabrina Marcus Taraboletti at Space Coast Pride 2015

Sabrina Taraboletti, Space Coast Proud

Sabrina Taraboletti & Barney Frank at Space Coast Pride 2015
Sabrina Taraboletti & Barney Frank at Space Coast Pride 2015

Today, in the beautiful Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne Florida, Space Coast Pride is holding their 2015 Pride Festival and Parade.

Three Grand Marshalls will grace the event.   Barney Frank will represent Gay Men, Mary Meeks and Vicki Nantz will represent the Lesbian community,  and our own Sabina Marcus Taraboletti will represent Trans Pride.

Sabrina Taraboletti, Rose Rubino and Gia Heller at Space Coast Pride 2015
Sabrina Taraboletti, Rose Rubino and Gia Heller at Space Coast Pride 2015

Sabrina came out in Brevard county in the mid 1980s, looking for shared support.   Since there was no local organization to support crossdressers and other transpeople, she started one.

Her trip to an IFGE conference opened her eyes to the power of diverse transpeople coming together to share, encourage and empower each other.  This sparked her to bring together people from across the south to found the Southern Comfort Conference in 1991, serving on the board and chairing the event for years.

After emerging as a transwoman in the workplace, she was let go from her job as a Space Shuttle contractor for NASA.   Working with the National Center for Transgender Equality, she later testified about her experience at the first hearing on transgender discrimination held by Congress.

As documented in Trinidad: The Film, Sabrina Taraboletti in Sabrina was a founder of an care facility that supported transwomen through their surgery.   With her open manner, including an interview in a bubble bath, she became the breakout star of that film, appearing at festivals across the USA.

Through all of this, Sabrina worked to repair stresses in her family resulting from her emergence by always being a father to her two children.  Together they travelled the country, even to Prudhoe Bay Alaska.   She is very proud of her daughter, a chemical engineer, and her son, a Naval aviator.

Returning to her roots, Sabrina reestablished her licence as a marine engineer and is now Chief Engineer for a NOAA fisheries ship.   By developing and managing a crew and all systems, she maintains safe and effective operation for all.

Readers of this blog, though, will know Sabrina as TBB, with many of her stories shared here.    They are tales of a truly big and bold transwoman, a talented busty blonde with a sharp mind and an enormous heart.

We met in 1993 and were onstage together hosting in front of the entire conference that evening, the first incarnation of The Drama Queens, eventually hosting the Virginia Prince Lifetime Achievement awards three times.

Sabrina has always focused on creating family around her.   By drawing people in, giving them the chance to share and gleefully encouraging their contributions, she has empowered many, many people to move beyond their comfort zone and discover all that they can be.

Sabrina has always reflected pride to transpeople, from the 1980s to today.   Many leaders remember her unconditional support as helping them go out and do the work that needed to be done.

She will tell you, though, that her own pride emerged with the help of others.   People reflected her as they saw her, not as she feared she was, and slowly, she learned to flow, moving beyond old models to authenticity.

“It’s ass!” Sabrina will rail at me, “The ultimate trans surgery is pulling the stick out of your own ass, not out of your backside or your bum!”   Sabrina is absolutely sure of this because she knows firsthand how a contrived life can come crashing down and then, with commitment, persistence and patience be built back up in a better, more authentic way.

As I have said in the past, Sabrina has always been a catalyst, bringing out the energy of those around her.   She’s platinum, that TBB, and today the folks at Space Coast Pride get to share in a bit of that proud magic Sabrina has been bringing to transgender communities for almost 30 years now.

That’s definitely something to be proud about.

Thank you for being visible this weekend to represent all the people who have strengthened your pride in the last 30 years.  And thank you for being one of those proud people for so many of us over that time.  Thank you, Sabrina, and congratulations!

Here are some links to great TBB stories on this blog:

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