by Sarah Rutledge Fischer | photo by Greg Campbell
If you are a loyal reader of Focus Mid-South Magazine, you already know her name. Robin Beaudoin has been a contributing writer for Focus since day one, penning articles about some of the Memphis LGBT+ community’s most interesting people, organizations, and events. At this year’s Focus Awards, Beaudoin won both the Allie Award, in recognition of her work as any ally of the Mid- South LGBT+ community, and the Publisher’s Award, in recognition of her excellence in participation with Focus Magazine, supporting LGBT+ causes, and inspiring others to be engaged. Now it is time for Beaudoin to step out from behind the byline and into the spotlight.
Beaudoin, a life-long Memphian, has always been the kind of person who could bridge a social divide. In high school Beaudoin remembers socializing across the usual clique boundaries.
“I kind of dipped my toe in every group. I was in the government club, and I hung out with stoners, and I was on the track team. I kind of did a little bit of everything,” she said, laughing as she added, “not the stoner part though.”
These days, Beaudoin finds herself building a bridge between the more hetero- normative East Memphis world in which she lives and the vibrant Midtown LGBT+ communities that she loves. And when it comes to the LGBT+ groups and issues on which she spends her time, Beaudoin doesn’t so much dip a toe as dive into the deep end.
Beaudoin has always loved meeting people whose lives are different from her own, so when she transitioned from writing for Memphis Health and Fitness to writing for Focus Mid-South Magazine, she found a perfect fit.
“Every interview I write for Focus draws me in and makes me want to become involved in that group or attend that event.”
She started by volunteering at OUTMemphis, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. She has also worked with the Mystic Crew of Pegasus Memphis, Friends for Life, and the Tennessee Equality Project, among many others. With every step into the Memphis LGBT+ community, she has felt welcomed and embraced.
“The LGBT+ people in the Mid-South are some of the most welcoming and inclusive people I’ve ever met. When they had every reason to be guarded, they embraced me as an ally and peer, for which I will always be grateful.”
Beaudoin includes her whole family in her work. Her son Homer, 11, and daughter Helen, 9, have both joined in the fight for equality—volunteering for Metamorphosis and tossing beads in the Pride Parade.
“They are young, and they understand it,” she said, emphasizing the importance of communicating with kids about issues of identity and equality. “As early as they are able to ask questions about something, they are ready to understand it.”
Looking ahead, Beaudoin is excited to continue writing for Focus.
“I love all of the interviews,” she said. “I kind of fall in love with everyone that I interview a little bit, because I really believe that everyone has something beautiful inside them, and it’s my job to get it out and let everyone else see that.”
When asked about her dream interview, she only hesitated for a moment before naming Focus Publisher Ray Rico.
“Everything he touches turns to gold,” she said. “He’s got the Midas touch, and he’s so brilliant and such a really great reader of people.”
Beaudoin also plans to spend more and more of her time working for the causes and communities she loves. At the time of this interview, she was training to become a member of the Memphis Full Spectrum Doula Collective, a group that provides prenatal, postpartum, miscarriage, abortion, and adoptive support services to women.
No matter what the future holds, Beaudoin will approach it with curiosity and compassion.
“Compassion,” she says, “is everything.”