Gay rights advocate to speak Thursday 

‘Dangerous’ Donna Red Wing believes in building bridges

Nationally renowned gay rights advocate Donna Red Wing, once called "the most dangerous woman in America" by the right-leaning Christian Coalition, will give a free talk Thursday evening at the Charleston Marriott.

Warren Redman-Gress, executive director of the Alliance For Full Acceptance, says Red Wing has broad appeal as a speaker.

"She's not like a fringe sort of out-there crazy person," Redman-Gress says. "She presents really solid arguments." He adds that she is "funny as all get out."

Red Wing is executive director of the Charlotte-based Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit organization working to abolish for-profit private prisons. She has also held leadership positions at the Interfaith Alliance, the Gill Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She earned her "most dangerous" label during debates over marriage-equality amendments. She once got Tony Perkins, head of the Christian conservative Family Research Council, to sit down with the head of the Interfaith Alliance to talk about gay and lesbian equality issues.

"I think for mainstream, religious, traditional-values kind of folks, Donna has the ability to make sense," Redman-Gress says. "And that's what unnerves some people." He says Red Wing will speak about building bridges. "A lot of our work is ultimately attempting to bring people together who may not think that they have a common ground," he says.

The AFFA — a Charleston-based nonprofit organization known for its billboard and radio campaigns about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality — organized the event. It begins at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the Marriott at 170 Lockwood Drive with hors d'ouevres and a cash bar. The presentation starts at 6:15 p.m.

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