Transgender activist Janice Covington Allison passed away October 1 at Charlotte’s Mercy Hospital after battling a long-term illness. 

Covington, 74, had been an active participant in the city’s LGBTQ community dating back to the 1980s, where she had, upon occasion, performed as a drag artist at clubs like Oleens and Scorpio.

However, she was best known for taking on controversial topics and debating political issues head-on, with no holds barred, oftentimes calling out other LGBTQ individuals and organizations directly when she felt their actions were not in the best interest of the community.

Perhaps best known for being the first transgender delegate from the state of North Carolina in 2012, she was also at the forefront of the fight against HB2 (the “bathroom bill”) in North Carolina, and was an invited VIP guest at the first campaign stop for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign in 2016

Born August 4, 1947 in Delaware, she lived in San Francisco and Chicago before making her home in Charlotte.

Over the years, Covington spent many years living her life as both male and female, despite the fact she continued to identify as a woman. According to various reports and interviews she confirmed that living in her true gender identity posed challenges for her career pursuits, which included a stint in the US Army during Vietnam and serving as a volunteer Fire Chief.

In addition, she was previously a construction business owner; and a hotel waiter who had once served drinks to actor-turned-Republican President Ronald Reagan and country and western singer and film star Gene Autry.

She was known as a leader in the North Carolina Democratic Party for more than a decade and in 2019 mounted an effort to form party organizations nationwide to provide voice for the transgender community.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money to cover Covington’s funeral expenses. For more information and/or to make a donation go here.

Janice Covington Allison oral history interview 1

April 9, 2016

From The Charlotte Queer Oral History Project, established as a community-based project to capture oral histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people from Charlotte and its surrounding counties. The project was initiated in 2015 to compliment the developing holdings of the King Henry Brockington LGBTQ+ Archive.

Oral history interview 2, May 14, 2016

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