In a time and place like post-HB2 North Carolina, it is especially critical for people and organizations to come together to support transgender identifying individuals. Transcend Charlotte, co-founded by 33-year-old Trey Greene, does just that. Greene, a transgender man from the “famously conservative” town of Wilkesboro, N.C., was the catalyst for his family to begin to consider new perspectives and start to evolve. Greene wants all marginalized people to have an understanding and accepting support system, which was a big motivation for founding Transcend Charlotte.
The organization is multifaceted, providing services from twice-monthly support groups to the TransCloset, which offers clothes for transitioning individuals. Transcend isn’t just for transgender people, but anyone who feels marginalized or has suffered trauma. Counseling appointments are available with Greene himself, who is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist specializing in transgender individuals and trauma survivors.
What are your goals for Transcend Charlotte?
My goal for Transcend Charlotte is that we have the most inclusive, diverse organization possible where we can welcome and serve anyone struggling with issues related to gender norms, identity or expression. My passion is that we create a safe space for people to connect regardless of their identity, experiences or beliefs. For me personally, I found when reaching out to LGBT organizations in the past that it was especially hard to feel connected even when I lived in cities where they existed. There were either only services for LGB people or for trans females or I felt too socially awkward or anxious to connect, or it was too intimidating to go at all. There’s a lot of intersecting issues that keep so many trans people in hiding and feeling isolated. With Transcend Charlotte, I want to fight against that and find ways to help people feel that they are loved and supported. … I want people involved in our organization to understand [trauma] and be able to recognize it and provide the support that people need. … That’s also why my current goal is to have therapy services available at low-cost to individuals in the community who cannot otherwise afford care. … One of my goals is that we have Transcend Charlotte guided by trans people of color, that the majority of our leadership reflect people who most understand what those needs are in groups most impacted by injustice.
Do you have any hobbies that help you relax?
I’m a pretty big nerd and 100 percent an introvert. It’s taxing for me to do so many public things, so when I do get free time, I’m mostly hiding out at home with my partner, Scarlett, in front of the TV or computer. I love playing video games everything from Dark Souls to The Sims. I like to get sucked into another world with my hobbies, so it’s usually a game or binge watching “Walking Dead”, “Game of Thrones” or “American Horror Story.” I also read on occasion, but not as much as I should. …I like camping and hiking, but only if it’s cool outside. When it’s hot, I only go outside for swimming. I think HRT has made me super sensitive to heat.
What’s your favorite place to go in Charlotte to get out of the house?
My back porch? Haha. That’s a hard question because I’m such a homebody. When I go out, it’s usually just to somewhere like Outback or Olive Garden. I’m a pretty simple guy. I would like to go to local arcades or pool halls more, but Scarlett and my friends all seem to suck at games.
Describe your “happy place.”
My happy place is usually at home, but really anywhere with Scarlett. She’s the love of my life, and she’s really changed everything for me. I’ve historically been in bad relationships, and it’s so life-changing to be with someone who respects, loves and even takes care of you when you need it. I’m also a pretty spiritual guy, and really simple things bring me the most joy. The power was out the other day, and I just really enjoyed the quiet and candlelight and being able to slow down for a little bit. It’s hard when there’s so much responsibility with Transcend Charlotte especially to find time for that anymore, but when I find it, I really honor that time.
What political cause is most dear to you personally?
I’m a big proponent of most all the liberal social justice issues. As a social worker, you really learn the deeper levels of bias in our society against minorities, especially people of color. Of course, fighting for transgender rights and protections is at the top of the list, but that’s the obvious answer. I personally am passionate about not only breaking our idea of a gender binary, but having society see how those separations have brought harm to everyone. I do a lot of work advocating for survivors of sexual assault and educating about rape culture. … I strongly believe we need to evolve and start talking more about [sexual assault] survivors of all genders.
How would you describe your ideal vacation?
My ideal vacation would be just me and Scarlett doing what we did a few weeks ago, which was take a tent up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, spend time away from all electronics and distractions and just connect with each other and nature. I like spending one-on-one time with people I love and doing simple things. I’m not a flashy guy in any way. I just love finding moments to enjoy peace and quiet and connection, and that’s what I want to create opportunities for people who don’t have that.