Gillian Power. A leader at Lathrop & Gage, she’s also been organizing the new Heartland Trans Chorus.
“As an administrative leader within the firm, I didn’t get to transition quietly,” Power explained. “I was mortally fearful of coming out.”
However, on the day that the company distributed a letter (with a personal note from Power) about her transition, the emails she received exploded with support. “It was an outpouring of love!”
Born in South Africa, Power came to the United States 13 years ago. She has been in Kansas City for seven of those years. Before moving to the Midwest, she lived in London and Orlando. She met her wife, Jessica, on a business trip to the United States while still working in England. They have two children.
Power says of Kansas City, “It takes a while to establish a network of friends here. There aren’t as many transplants as other cities.” But once those friendships are established, she notes, “They are deeply genuine.”
Power is the driving force behind Kansas City’s new Heartland Trans Chorus.
“I always had a very strong relationship to music,” she said. In South Africa, she sang in youth choirs and played bass guitar in informal bands.
“When I started gender therapy, voice training was a very important component,” Power said. “... For a trans woman, typically voice is a challenge. Hormones don’t change that. I consider it important to speak in a voice that is mostly aligned.”
Power said her therapist, a former Broadway singer, said that “I had a dramatic soprano voice,” a piece of information that she didn’t immediately act on.
But after a powerful experience last March while listening to the Heartland Men’s Chorus, Power began singing lessons. A trip to Boston gave her an opportunity to watch a rehearsal of the Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus.
That’s when Power was moved to start a similar group in Kansas City.
The first meeting to establish the Heartland Trans chorus was held in December 2015.
“There is so much local talent,” she said. “They have sung their whole lives.”
Auditions will be open to allies as well, but the focus is on transgender voices. Performances are still some time away, she said. “We’re focused on this being a long-term sustainable fixture on the art scene.” However, plans for 2017 include shared concerts with other community choirs.
Within her professional field, Power is also a leader. She serves as thought leader for the annual International Legal Technology Association conference, attended by more than 3,500 members). She received the ILTA Distinguished Peer Award for server/operations in 2011.
As for her information technology work at Lathrop & Gage, she said, “I have an amazing team. We’ve built a very stable infrastructure.”
Regarding her firm’s involvement with Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Power said, “I see my role as being an ambassador. Here’s this K.C. institution, 140 years” old, she said, and its MAGLCC membership shows the firm in a very modern light.
Work/life balance is critical to Power, for her work team and herself. In addition to spending time with her music and family, she is an avid reader and yogi.
Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt
The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MAGLCC) is an organization that advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of the LGBT business community and its allies. Learn more at MAGLCC.org.