Echo Inducts Geoffrey Dorsey into Hall of Fame

By Staff, November 2017 Issue. Meet the rest of the Class of 2017 here.

When Geoffrey Dorsey moved from Nashville to Phoenix in 2009, it marked the beginning of several new chapters in his life.

First, he had never attended a PFLAG meeting until arriving in the Valley of the Sun. Today, he serves as the president of the nonprofit’s Phoenix Chapter.

“PFLAG started many years ago for parents and families to get support when they had a child who was gay or lesbian,” he said. “It has evolved over time into much more. Many thought it was just for parents and families but LGBTI+ individuals are also welcome. We offer support to all. Some people just need a place to feel safe before they even tell anyone or they are questioning their sexuality. We provide that.”

Second, Dorsey had never met a transgender individual before moving to Phoenix. This was key to his journey because he found out about the PFLAG’s leadership vacancy at a Trans Spectrum of Arizona (TSAZ) meeting.

“I decided to run for president last year. I had no idea at the time what it involved,” Dorsey said. “After a year of being president I love it and all of the opportunities it has brought me. For the most part it involves the community and connecting people with the support they need.”

Making valuable community connections isn’t something that’s new to Dorsey either.

“My journey has been a long one with many twist and turns,” he said. “I have always identified with the LGBTQ community. Even as I child I knew I was attracted to women … I came out as a lesbian in 1995 after I moved to Nashville. I had tried earlier but my family shoved me back into the closet before I could barely get the door open.”

Since childhood, Dorsey has memories of not quite fitting in as a female, having unanswered questions, having to prove his identity and trying to pass as a female (which he was assigned at birth).

In 2003, he and a woman he was dating began looking for answers online when they came across the word transgender.

“I thought this must be it, I am a trans man. So, I started that part of my journey,” he said. “When I got to know some of the trans men here and heard their stories, I realized I never transitioned, I just evolved over my lifetime …

The other new chapter that Dorsey’s move to Phoenix prompted was his search to find a new doctor. Upon learning of Dorsey’s story, his new doctor asked if he’d ever been tested. For what? was Dorsey’s reply.

“He said, ‘it sounds to me like you are intersex,” Dorsey recalled. “This was the first time I had heard this word … I made an appointment with an endocrinologist and told her my story. She looked at me and said, ‘you have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. I am going to do some test but I am 99.9 percent sure that will be the results.’ I just started crying. I was 44 years old and this was the first person who ever had any real answers to all of my questions as to why I was always so different.”

All of Dorsey’s new chapters came together about a year ago, as he was on a quest for purpose. Following his move to Phoenix, he also found a reconciling church that accepted him: Dayspring United Methodist Church in Tempe.

“I have always felt a need to make the world a better place,” he said. “About a year ago I was really struggling with this purpose thing. I finally said, OK I am ready. You open the doors and I will walk through.”

Two weeks later he learned that if PFLAG didn’t find a new president, the Phoenix the Chapter would have to close.

“I stepped up and said I will do it, and from there other doors opened,” he recalled.

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Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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