Hopes shared by local trans individuals

Transgender Awareness Month: Community speaks out

Some have said that this is the transgender community’s time. More than ever, it seems, the general public is becoming more aware of transgender people and the issues surrounding trans needs. There is still much work to be done to see that transgender brothers and sisters reach full equality. qnotes reached out to local transgender individuals to find out where they see the transgender community headed and what their hopes are for its future.

[Ed. Note: The following quotes have not been edited for content and reflect the opinions of each person who contributed. However, they have been edited for grammar and punctuation.]

transhopes_charliecomeroThe transgender community is diverse and beyond beautiful. I think this diversity can serve to tear us apart or bring us together. My vote is for the latter, and my hope is that we move forward as a united front and approach one another with love and curiosity as we embrace the very real notion that there is not a “right way” of being trans. Let’s love first, especially within our community that experiences enough misunderstanding and hate from the outside.

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I also hope for better healthcare coverage for the transgender community, not only for surgeries and hormones, but for better mentalhealth awareness and overall support for the community. 41 percent of transgender folks attempt suicide and 57 percent of them experience friends and or family not wanting to see or talk to them anymore — those stats are from Williams Institute. This is not OK and something needs to be done to address this issue.

— Charlie Comero

transhopes_nixbecherHopefully the recent increase in the trans community’s visibility will ultimately result in the decrease of our marginalization.

Things are moving in the right direction in a lot of states right now with the passage of inclusive anti-discrimination legislation, but this is something we’re still struggling for here. I’m looking forward to the day when the law is on our side.

— Nix Becher

transhopes_paigedulaI have several hopes and dreams for the trans community. First, I would like to see some form of true community form for transgender people. On the outside looking in, people who are not transgender see us as a cohesive group. That, however, is far from the truth. There are some who feel that you aren’t trans enough if you don’t pass, or if you don’t ascribe to a gender binary, as an example.

Something else I would like to see is the LGB community putting in more of an effort to understand the issues that transgender people struggle with. The fallout from the failed non-discrimination ordinance vote in Charlotte earlier this year showed that many LGB folks didn’t understand how critical the public accommodations piece was for transgender people.

Lastly, I would like to see better support for trans people of color. This subset of the trans population is by far the most marginalized and in need of help. We have no fewer than four trans support groups in the Charlotte area and not one is doing a good job of reaching this population, including the group I founded last year, Genderlines.

— Paige Dula

transhopes_dawnflynnI would like to see the following occur in Charlotte:

1. More community support. Some organizations are out and supportive, providing services for the trans community, but not many are open about it. Trans people are treated harshly if they, unknowingly, do business with an organization or business that is not affirming. A published list of businesses that are trans friendly in qnotes would be very helpful.

2. More gender neutral or trans restrooms. There are very few in Charlotte. True transgender people are good, law abiding citizens. Everyone deserves to have a safe place to go to the bathroom. The most offended transgender segment is the male-to-female. There is no reason why a transgender male-to-female should not be able to use any woman’s restroom as women’s bathrooms all have closed stalls and are private.

3. A list of trans affirming places of worship published in qnotes. There are short lists in various places and through word-of-mouth, but a complete list would be very helpful, along with the names and phone numbers of the churches in those places of worship. Many trans people suffer greatly. Having the name of a trusted spiritual leader to call may avert a suicide.

— Rev. Dawn Flynn

transhopes_justinematlockWhen you talk about “the needs of the trans community,” you talk about this greater need for really like a semi societal, cultural, ideological shift. And hearing that back out loud, that sounds like a pretty big — you know, like I’m asking for a lot.

But I think if you look at practice versus theory, I’m not asking for someone to understand every part of my gender identity, the struggle I face with gender dysphoria or the various ways it occurs and manifests and interacts with other diagnoses, but I think people need to be relatively aware of the amount of people who die as a result of hate crimes, like victims of homicide simply for being trans.

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On top of that, cis people need to stop having these expectations for trans people. When I say expectations I mean, I think the greater narrative as of now, the contemporary idea of what a trans woman is, is basically a kind of sad, misunderstood, rich, white “transsexual” “woman” who lived her life largely as a man, and succeeded as a man, yadda yadda yadda, vis-à-vis Caitlyn Jenner, when that’s not most trans women. Some of us are sex workers, a lot of us are poor.

A lot of us face a lot more sexual assault and intimate partner abuse than other members of the LGBT community, and there’s this whole entire conversation that needs to be had. And that sounds incredibly lofty, but I think, you can Google it! So many people over think this shit.

Fundamentally I’m misunderstood every day as a person, that’s what I want to change, and that’s not going to change. Having cisgender people deconstruct their notion of what makes up men and women is asking way too much, and typically I just tell people to fucking Google how to talk to me.

I can preach all day about how we need to destroy the notion that women look, act, be, exist in one certain kind of way — same goes for men — but at the end of the day, I’m just spewing hot air. What I really want people to do is to maybe not gender someone in public. If you see someone who is pretty feminine and you can’t really tell, and you don’t know, don’t gender them. Ask them their pronouns. And that’s tokenizing, but still it’s not as bad as you straight up assuming I’m a dude.

— Justine Matlock

janice convington My hopes for the transgender community are that we can achieve a life without labels, that we can be viewed and accepted as a person like anyone else, nothing more nothing less.

I believe that I, as a transgender woman, have the same problems as my gay brothers and sisters; bigotry does not know how to discriminate.

When the world realizes that we are all people with the same dreams, only then will my soul rest.

— Janice Covington 

Photo Credit: Mike Anderson

Photo Credit: Mike Anderson

The future for transgender people leaves much to be desired and much to look forward to.

I feel confident in saying that most transgender people want what any human being wants; to be respected and accepted. Coming out as transgender should be similar to when a new parent discovers the gender of their child in an ultrasound and should be followed by celebration. Imagining the coming year for the transgender community brings to mind the image of non-binary people working together to create an environment where trans allies are abundant and transphobia nonexistent.

A collective approach in the transgender community would lead to a long term future where bathroom issues and homeless transgender youth would be included in the story line of an embarrassing past. This is what I hope to see in the future.

— Lara Americo 

 

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Posted by Jeff Taylor / Social Media Editor

Jeff Taylor is a journalist and artist. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inside Lacrosse, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport and has lived in Charlotte since 2006.@jefftaylorhuman.