Lavender Magazine Community Award: Katrina Koesterman and Rebel Marie

Rebel Marie (L) and Katrina Koesterman (R)
Rebel Marie (L) and Katrina Koesterman (R)

Transgender issues continue to take a larger role in our community’s quest for expanded rights nationwide. On the banks of the Red River, bordering Minnesota and North Dakota, the work continues through Tri-State Transgender. For over 20 years, they have been the beacon for other transgender people in Fargo, Moorhead, and beyond. 

This is the reason why Lavender Magazine honors Katrina Koesterman and Rebel Marie with our Community Award. Both continue to take the lead in their community through this group for a vast territory. 

Back in 2019, we had the chance to feature Koesterman and Marie as we visited Fargo-Moorhead Pride. We witnessed the good work this group continues to do, even in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. From our interview in 2019, Marie stated that “one of the things that’s unique about our organization is Kat represents the Minnesota side, and I represent the North Dakota side. A lot of the things in Minnesota, a lot of the legal things creates an environment that… You can change your pronoun on your license a lot easier. You have housing protections, which in turn, protects your ability to maintain a job. You can’t get fired outright if you have a job in Minnesota, and then, if you have a Minnesota license, it’s a little bit easier to find work.”

The dichotomy of the two states created a challenge for Tri-State Transgender to help navigate the community through these essential items to live their true selves. They do so through helping other community members with support, although as Koesterman pointed out in 2019 that “we’re seeing attendance at Tri-State Transgender go down a little bit because people don’t need the support as much because it is becoming normalized. We need to continue that trend.”

Being present at Fargo-Moorhead Pride is one thing to keep this group going. In 2020, they scheduled a Support Summit and Gala at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Fargo. The late February event came right before the shutdowns in North Dakota and Minnesota. 

The good work Koesterman and Marie do – and continue to do – shed of light of what has been done and what still needs to be done in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

On behalf of Lavender Magazine, it is our honor to bestow Katrina Koesterman and Rebel Marie as recipients of this year’s Community Awards. 

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