Staff Profile: Carla McKinzie

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
Carla McKinzie
Administrative and Development Assistant, Lambda Legal, Dallas; joined 2006

What’s always in your bag? It’s probably easier to ask “what’s not in my bag?” Of course the usual stuff: cell phone, wallet, makeup, perfume, etc. At the time of this writing I have: old mail, old receipts, a set of eyelashes, a Ziploc bag of water crackers, lotion, a MAC compact (empty), dental floss, two earrings and a small bottle of Smooth Shine Hair Polisher.

What was the last show you streamed? Streamed? I’m happy that I know how to TiVo my favorite reality shows and Judge Judy. Does that count as streaming?

Do you have a guilty pleasure? Yes, reality TV!

What has been the most surprising aspect of working at LL? I was too young to be a part of the civil rights movement in the ‘60s. But I can look back and say with pride that I was and am a part of the civil rights movement for the LGBT community. Growing up I use to listen to my parents‘ stories about when they were young they remember signs that said “colored” water fountains and “colored” bathrooms. And how they were not allowed to eat inside of restaurants because of their skin color. My dad had to order and pay for their food at the back door and they would eat in the car.

What are you most proud of? I survived living in the same house with a teenage daughter.

Who inspires you? Everyone inspires me.

What’s on your bucket list? Cuba and South Africa.

What do you do at Lambda Legal? The Dallas office covers seven states. If you live in Texas, New Mexico, New Orleans or Denver and get invited to a LL event, I am the person that you RSVP to. If you have ever called the Dallas office, I’m the voice behind the “Good afternoon, Lambda Legal.” But the most important part of my job is to make sure our donors know that we appreciate their support.

What‘s challenging about your job? Name badges! Honestly that’s it.

What‘s rewarding about it? Can you give us one example? I was raised in a conservative, Southern Baptist household. Within the first year of my hire date, we had a Development retreat. Prior to the retreat, we were asked to answer a couple of questions and one of the questions was, why are you at Lambda Legal? I didn’t have an answer. The day before I was to leave for the retreat I was at home looking at TV with Draeke, my eight year- old daughter. All of a sudden it was PG-13, so I immediately turned the channel. And the conversation goes like this:

Draeke: Mom, why did you turn the channel?

Me: Because it’s not appropriate.

Draeke: What’s not appropriate? They’re just kissing.

Me: (Thinking to myself, is it time for that talk?) Draeke, do you know what sex is?

Draeke: Yes, ma’am.

Me: Oh, okay, is it holding hands?

Draeke: No ma’am, it’s more than just holding hands.

Me: Is it kissing? Draeke:

No, ma’am, it’s more than just kissing.

Me: Can a man and woman have sex?

Draeke: Yes, ma’am.

Me: Can two men have sex?

Draeke: It depends on what state they live in.

It was at that time, I knew I was in the right place.