• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 15s

Meet Drew Phoenix, Identity Inc.’s new executive director

By KTVA Alaska 2:08 PM January 18, 2014

One of Alaska's leading advocacy organizations for the GLBT community has a new leader with an incredible story.

ANCHORAGE - Reverend, community leader, advocate and spiritual guide are just a few titles Drew Phoenix has held. Starting Monday, he’ll add executive director of Identity, Inc. to that list.

“This position, like no other I’ve ever had, really brings together my identity — I’m a transgender male, along with my passion for equality and diversity,” Phoenix said.

Equality and diversity are things that Identity Inc., one of Alaska’s leading gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organizations, stands for.

“Identity is a place to celebrate your gender identity,” Phoenix said.

Phoenix said it took nearly 40 years of sadness, anger and disconnect to finally get to a place where he would find his own true identity.

“For a long time I didn’t feel like my mind, body and spirit were at one or whole,” he said.

Drew was born female. His parents named him Anne. But Drew always knew that name, that gender, just didn’t fit.

“I describe it as a feeling of homelessness,” Phoenix said.  ”Of not being at home in my body. Ya know, looking at a mirror and thinking, ‘That’s not who I am. That’s not how I see myself.’”

Despite Phoenix’s internal conflict, for four decades he lived as Anne, exercising his faith in the United Methodist Church and becoming an ordained minister in Maryland.

“I served local churches for over 21 years, but in 2008 I made the decision to come here to Alaska,” Phoenix said.

The decision to move some 4,000 miles across the country wasn’t easy, he said, but necessary. It was a new start for Phoenix after making a very intimate life-altering decision public.

After thinking long and hard, praying and consulting with church leaders, Phoenix decided it was time to transition from female to male.

“Those of us who are religious or spiritual or both are all on spiritual journeys,” Phoenix said. “For me, the spiritual journey is about integration.”

In 2007, Phoenix came out to a crowd of thousands. He shared that he’d be transitioning from Anne Gordon to Drew Phoenix. A name he chose that couldn’t be more fitting — Phoenix, the mythical bird that dies and rises out from its ashes.

“That’s what I’ve done,” Phoenix said. “I’ve really remade myself.”

In his new identity, Drew said he finally felt like he had found a home.

“Since transitioning, spiritually, mentally, physically, I am at one,” he said. “For the first time in my life.”

Identity co-chair Anne Marie Moylan said Phoenix’s journey, ability to overcome his own personal struggles and passion for the GLBT community made him a shoo-in for Identity’s executive director position.

“Drew was a standout,” Moylan said. “He went above and beyond and brought heart and soul and imagination and the ability to follow through.”

Outgoing executive director Phyllis Rhodes agreed.

“When I announced that I would be retiring, I said that we needed somebody who had a passion for what we’re doing,” Rhodes said. “He has that passion and that’s the number one thing. He is going to step in and leap boldly into the future.”

A future that Phoenix believes his past has prepared him for.

“That’s why I take a leadership role in the church and here at Identity,” Phoenix said. “Because I don’t want the next generation to have to go through what I went through. I want an Anchorage and Alaska where we talk about gender identity and expression in our schools, where it’s not an issue for businesses where you can be fired or denied housing. That’s why I do what I do.”

Rhodes, the outgoing executive director for Identity Inc. held the position since 2005. Rhodes volunteered to fill the full time position and did so, for free, as a labor of love.

Rhodes said she couldn’t be more excited to hand the reins over to Drew Phoenix, who she hopes will advance the GLBT community in Alaska by leaps and bounds.

 

Latest Stories

  • News

    UPDATE: Police locate missing 4-year-old girl

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 27, 20:58

    Last updated at 10:20 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 Four-year-old Alyiah Touyon has been located and is safe, according to Anchorage police spokesperson Jennifer Castro. “Officers located her down the street at a residence a couple blocks away,” said Castro. “She’s safe and okay.” About 30 people turned out to help search for Touyon, but […]

  • News

    DOC commissioner stands by decision to close Palmer prison after backlash from union

    by Alexis Fernandez on Jul 27, 20:40

    The Alaska Department of Corrections commissioner issued a statement Wednesday standing by his decision to close the Palmer Correctional Center, despite backlash from the union representing correctional officers. On Tuesday, the DOC announced plans to close the prison by the end of the year due to state budget cuts. The 500 minimum to medium security […]

  • News

    Economic outlook shows declining consumer confidence, expected job losses in Anchorage

    by Heather Hintze on Jul 27, 20:08

    Consumer confidence in Anchorage is at an all-time low, according to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s (AEDC) three-year economic outlook. AEDC randomly surveyed 350 households in Anchorage which rated their optimism on a scale of 1 to 100. In the second quarter, for the first time since AEDC started the survey in 2011, consumer optimism […]

  • News

    War Birds take to the skies over Anchorage ahead of Arctic Thunder

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 27, 19:24

    The Arctic Thunder Air Show and Open House is this weekend at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, but it’s not all about the latest and greatest airplanes. World War II-era planes knows as War Birds are also part of the air show. The War Birds are part of the Wings of Freedom Commemorative Air Force, […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage man accused of targeting, assaulting registered sex offenders

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 27, 16:47

    An Anchorage man has been arrested and indicted on multiple charges of assault, robbery, burglary and theft after conducting targeted attacks on registered sex offenders, according to a Wednesday release from the Alaska Attorney General’s Office. According to prosecutors, 41-year-old Jason Christian Vukovich attacked at least three men listed on the Alaska Sex Offender Registry […]

  • News

    Harry Brower Jr elected new North Slope Borough mayor

    by Associated Press on Jul 27, 16:43

    The North Slope Borough has a new mayor following a runoff election last week. Harry Brower Jr. was sworn Tuesday after absentee and questioned ballots were tallied and the results of the election were certified. He is the brother-in-law of Charlotte Brower, who was recalled as mayor earlier this year after she was linked to […]

  • Politics

    Murkowski raises more than $730K during latest quarter

    by Associated Press on Jul 27, 14:22

    U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski brought in more than $730,000 during the latest fundraising quarter. As of June 30, the Republican had nearly $3.1 million available. Murkowski faces no major opposition in next month’s GOP primary. Independent Margaret Stock, who will first appear on the November general election ballot, reported raising about $190,000 from April through […]

  • Lifestyle

    Federal Reserve keeps interest rates near record lows

    by CBS/AP on Jul 27, 12:01

    WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates unchanged while noting that near-term risks to the economy have diminished. “The Fed seems intent on telling the markets that a September hike is a possibility,” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, emailed. “They do this not because they are intent to raise but to […]