Erin Scott and others marching in the pride parade
This post has been a long time coming. In my travels around the state, as well as here in my own backyard in Missoula, I often come across amazing talent and innovation in our LGBTQ community. Nearly 200 LGBTQ and allied Montanans are living Pride Foundation’s values by donating and volunteering to advance our movement. It is with this same spirit that many of them go about their livelihoods.
Bobbie Zenker, Hobie Hare, and Erin Scott are three such Montanans – and contributors to Pride Foundation – who give back through their professional lives a real and tangible good that ripples throughout our entire state: gay or straight.
“As Montana’s first and only transgender attorney, I experienced being humiliated and ostracized,” Bobbie explained in a recent blog post for Truth in Progress. “The worst of it was professional employment discrimination.” Bobbie stayed in Montana while she transitioned and kept her last name and profession – so she could not escape notice.
Bobbie Zenker: community leader and author
“It took me 22 months to find professional employment as an attorney in the state capital where state’s attorney positions came open at a rate of at least one per month,” she says. “I experienced outright hostility at two state agencies, including the highest levels of the Department of Justice.” She had to take a second job but eventually found employment as staff attorney for Disability Rights Montana.
Bobbie’s story, deals with coming out, recovering from alcoholism, and deepening her faith in God, and the theme of resilience will appeal to all audiences. She channels her struggle into art and activism, and she is a member of Pride Foundation’s Leadership Action Team and Montana Human Rights Network’s board of directors.
Hobie Hare has lived all over Montana, but now calls Missoula home. He worked eight seasons in Yellowstone Park as an interpretive ranger and naturalist guide, and he is an accomplished photographer with a line of greeting cards. He’s worked in adventure travel, education, and communications, and is now combining those skills to offer workshops and one-on-one consulting to help LGBTQ people deepen their connection to the natural world around us. Previously, he’s led workshops for gay and bisexual men through the Gay Men’s Health Task Force.
“Over half the world’s population now inhabits urban and suburban areas,” Hare says. “Gay people increasingly meet online or at bars, and that can lack authenticity in terms of connection. The value and need for people to connect with nature is vital and huge, not only for ourselves and our relationships, but for the one planet we all call home.”
Hare works with people all over the country and internationally, so travel, time zone differences, and geography are not an issue. He is offering a 30-minute, no-obligation conversation to the first eight members of the LGBTQ and allied community who contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org this month to explore whether his process and nature connection mentoring programs might be a mutually good fit.
Community Member Hobbie Hare
Erin Scott is also motivated by community and the idea of living the planet better than we found it. For more than 22 years, Scott worked her way up as a surveyor in the civil engineering field. She has managed projects for some of the largest engineering companies in the country on both coasts, but has called Missoula home since 2010, and now owns Scott Solar, LLC, a residential solar panel installation business. She’s active in the local Chamber of Commerce, leads the Missoula Women’s Night” group at the Western Montana Community Center, and is a founder of the Global Family of Women
Solar is her love, but so is giving back to the community. She recently mentored a Hellgate High School senior who wanted to learn more about the solar industry and was featured on the front page of the Missoulian.
“Deriving power from solar energy is one of the most amazing technologies ever developed,” Scott says, “I want to bring better technology to the average person at a very competitive cost, and in doing so help make our world is a better place.”
Scott and her wife, Thressa, are proud to pay it forward through their involvement with Pride Foundation and their business.
“The study of energy in all forms and learning how better to use that energy, is one of my life purposes,” Scott says. “From getting rid of old thoughts patterns that come up in relationships to transitioning from oil to cleaner energy types, changing the way we think is a critical step for improving the combined consciousness of us all.”
Caitlin is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Montana. Email Caitlin.