Lorie Burch is one of those people that is able to effortlessly captivate a room. When she is present you are just naturally drawn to her. As a family law and probate attorney she spends her days helping people decipher the often confusing world of the legal system. I don’t just speak in platitudes either, as she represents by my husband and myself in the drafting of our wills and power of attorney’s.
Lorie is the walking embodiment of charisma. With her infectious personality and wealth of knowledge she is someone that you definitely want to know. I am happy to call her a friend and was so thankful that she agreed to be part of this series.
I'm Lorie Burch and I'm a Dallas area, wills and trusts and probate attorney, with a special emphasis on the LGBTQ community.
TMP: What does Pride Month mean to you?
Pride month is both, recognizing our history of where we've come with the LGBTQ movement and actually recognizing what the roots of that movement was, and it started in protest for our rights to be visible, to be seen. So part of it is certainly a celebration where we come, but I also think it needs to be a renewal of our fortitude, to keep pushing forward for full equality for all of us.
TMP: For those that feel they are alone and unable to come out, what message do you have for them?
I believe one of the most important ways to be able to become more comfortable and confident in your own skin is to seek out communities, to volunteer, to get involved. Whether it's, like me, where, as a business owner, I got involved with the human rights campaign and Lambda Legal and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce. And the more you start to engage with other people and feel a sense of community, then you gain that confidence within yourself.
For me, that also led to feeling more confident to be out and open in non LGBTQ environments, in particular, through leadership with the American Business Women's Association. And to be able to find that same type of support in a non LGBTQ environment was instrumental in me becoming more confident and a truer version of myself.
I would encourage everybody to not isolate themselves, but to seek out organizations, and volunteer and get involved, so that you can see that you are visible, you are seen, you are heard and you are valued.
TMP: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self to help you with your coming out experience?
It's important to realize that, coming out is not a one time thing. Even though, my big coming out, where I am an out and open LGBTQ member of our community, it's been a long journey, but every day is coming out. When I meet with clients and they ask about my baby or my family or my spouse, it's a time that you have to come out.
I ran for United States congress in a fairly conservative district and that was a huge leap of faith. Every time I knocked on doors or met with constituents or attended events, I'm just telling my story, who I am, who my family is, where I've been, how I've been able to come to terms with feeling comfortable with who I am and confident to be an advocate for those who don't feel seen, heard, or represented.
So, every moment is a coming story. It is a journey. And I don't know that I would change anything about the journey that I had, but once I finally put myself out there and became authentic and vulnerable, it was the most empowering and liberating experience I had. So, if I could have done it sooner, I suppose maybe I would've done it sooner. But I think it's important that, once you get to that point, to really live who you are and know that you are valued and included.
TMP: For those that are not part of the community, but want to be allies, what would you impart on them so as to be most helpful?
I think allies are one of the most key components to really any marginalized groups, civil rights movement. And for those I've had people seek out to me to try and figure out ways to getting engaged, and I think that's also finding organizations, events, pride events, if you're a business owner, getting involved with the local LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
We started something where I was the chair, well actually shortly after, I was the chair of the chamber called the WE Program, Welcome Everyone, where businesses can display, either on their website or on their store front, that, regardless of of who you are or who I am, you are welcome here, that you're not going to be discriminated against.
I also think that it's important to be an advocate and to be vocal. It means a lot to see people speak up for others, even though they may not be a part of that community.
TMP: What is something that you would like to say to those viewing this, that we have not specifically covered?
One of the most important things, I believe, for us in the LGBTQ community, is that, we still have a long way to go, and the biggest mistake we can make is complacency. So yes, we can get, don't ask, don't tell, repealed. We can have marriage equality, but there is still so many forces and people who are still working against our full equality and representation. And I don't want people to be complacent in being disengaged when it comes to the political process.
I think it's important to be engaged and to volunteer within your community, within organizations. I think it's important to make sure that you vote. Voter turnout is pathetically low. We cannot sacrifice our future and all of those behind us who are looking up to us, our future, by sitting it out. Every vote matters. Every election matters. And I would go a step further and volunteer for a campaign, for a candidate, for a cause. We have to stay engaged. We have to stay vigilant, because while we have made strides, trust me, there will always be forces to try and take us back, and we can't go back. We have to just keep going forward. And the only way we can do that, is to work together and to be visible, to be seen and to be vocal.
A big thank you to Lorie for participating in this. If you would like to learn more about Lorie and the services that she offers head over to www.burch-law.com