Honored and overwhelmed. That’s how Dave and Joan Parker described their reaction to the news. The Parkers, parents of a male-to-female transgender daughter, are among three recipients of this year’s Human Rights Campaign Carolinas award. On Feb. 27, they’ll join Charlotte high school senior Mary Elizabeth Lennon and Greensboro’s Guilford Green Foundation for recognition and praise at the HRC Carolinas Gala in Raleigh.

“It is nothing I ever expected,” Dave Parker, an organizer and trans advocate with Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), told qnotes. “We did this because we wanted to. We weren’t looking for an award, but we’re happy to receive it.”

Joan, too, feels humbled. “I think it is an honor,” she said. “It certainly says something that the work we have been doing and will continue to do is worth something to be recognized by a national organization.”

The Parkers, recipients of the Legacy Award, have worked with PFLAG nationally and locally on trans awareness and inclusion for almost 10 years. They first got involved when their 40-year-old son told them he was transgender and would be transitioning to a female identity.

After the news, the Parkers looked for support and education. “We went online and found the Greensboro chapter of PFLAG,” Joan said. “The next Tuesday was their meeting, so we went.”

Read the rest of this print exclusive. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Feb. 20 print edition at any of our hundreds of Carolinas distribution points.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.