History-making, motorcycle-riding lesbian state Rep. Simone Bell offered this challenge to LGBT teens: “Walk through your fear.” Not bad that the Georgia lawmaker did so during a White House ceremony that named her a Harvey Milk Champion of Change.
Bell was one of 10 elected officials from across the U.S. honored for their “strong commitment to both equality and public service” on Wednesday, which is also the birthday of Harvey Milk. The celebrated activist was slain after becoming the first openly gay elected official in California.
“I would challenge you to walk through your fear,” Bell said during a panel discussion. “I am always afraid. When I am brave, it is because at that moment I decided to walk through my fear and come out on the other side.”
Bell didn't shy away from her trademark frankness mixed with Southern charm, joking that, “If you offer me the mic, I am always going to take it.” Bell also discussed challenges to being a gay lawmaker in Georgia, hiring a transgender staffer, and balancing advocating for LGBT issues while addressing the needs of the non-gay constituents in her district.