Our People: Q&A with Paige Dula

Genderlines founder has found her place with wife, work and advocacy

Finding a truly well-rounded person is rare in this world. I, myself, am consumed by work too much of the time. Paige Dula, on the other hand, seems to have her life pretty much figured out. With a day job as an analyst at Bank of America, Dula dedicates her free time to helping others in the LGBTQ community. A longtime volunteer for Time Out Youth Center, Dula saw the need for an organization focusing on adults who are TQ and often get left behind by the LGB folks. This led her to found Genderlines, an educational and advocacy organization dedicated to welcoming “members from all along the gender spectrum and from all walks of life,” the website reads.

Dula’s own experience as a queer transgender woman may not have always been easy, but along with her personal determination and intelligence, she cites her support system and coping tools as the true keys to her success. Dula shared with qnotes about what keeps her going, in her work as well as her personal journey.

What’s your personal mission in your work with the LGBTQ community?
My personal mission in my work in the LGBTQ community is to educate people about the transgender community and to advocate for our rights.

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How did your time with Time Out Youth impact the trajectory of your career since?
Time Out Youth had an enormous impact on my life, both personally and professionally. Prior to volunteering at TOY, I had little to no experience with the intersection of racial minority and the LGBTQ community. The youth, interns and other volunteers opened my eyes to how much privilege I have despite any hardships I may have experienced.

What are your aspirations in your work with Genderlines?
My initial aspiration when founding Genderlines was to simply fill a void that our area had for a transgender support group. Since founding the group, we’ve been asked to participate in panels, asked to do trans 101 training and participated in advocacy for the recent non-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte. I feel the core mission of the group should always be support, but I hope we can do more education and outreach in the future. That’s why we started the community discussion series. The first one in February on HB2 was well received and attended. I hope the upcoming discussion in May, which will be a discussion focused on trans people of color and the additional challenges they face, will be even more successful.

On a personal level, what causes other than LGBTQ issues are important to you?
Outside of the LGBTQ community I like to support my wife, Jennifer, in her support of the homeless community. There are so many homeless in Charlotte and so little affordable housing and other supportive resources. We really need to do more in that area.

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What are some hobbies or pastimes that you do to relax or have fun?
My hobby comes as a surprise to some, but I really enjoy building furniture. I started back in the early 2000s doing simple outdoor projects and gradually moved on to fine furniture. My most recent build is a 3-in-1 crib for my new grandson, Oliver.

Who are some of the people who keep you going even when things are hard?
When times get tough I lean heavily on my wife, Jen. She grounds me, helps me to say “no” when I’m doing too much, and is truly my best friend. I’m also blessed with two awesome friends in my life who have become like siblings to me. Jenny Yum and Rick Scot, both [of] whom I met at work, are fantastic examples of family of choice. I’m also not ashamed to say I have a fantastic therapist as well.

If you were to meditate, what would you envision as your “happy place”?
I have a very specific “happy place” I go when I meditate or do self-hypnosis. There is a little outcropping of rock at Pilot Mountain state park that overlooks the unique knob that is Pilot Mountain. It’s surrounded by rhododendron and there are always hawks circling on the thermals. That is where I go in my mind to bring peace.

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