Category: LGBT

Ahya’s story: Expressing the music in her soul

Ahya’s story: Expressing the music in her soul

This transgender woman uses her unique voice to advocate for herself and her community.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

Ahya Simone didn’t plan on becoming a harpist.

She’s always been musical and had long been a singer, but taking a harp class began as nothing more than a way to fill a hole in her schedule. In fact, she initially had so little interest she thought she’d drop the class.

But then she fell in love.

Although it was a bold instrument — pretty and elegant and unique — not many people I knew played the harp.…

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Arizona’s story: Listening to her authentic self

Arizona’s story: Listening to her authentic self

After nearly 50 years, this transgender woman finally let the world see who she’s always known herself to be.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

Arizona Welsh was three years old when she first realized that she was much more like the women in her life than the men, even though she was assigned male gender at birth. But she didn’t have the words for it — literally.

Welsh was born deaf, along with vision loss, so it took until she was five years old for Welsh to learn the terms “boy” and “girl.”

I was nearly five when I first learned those words.…

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Attorney General Bill Schuette seeks to define Michigan as a state full of transphobic bigots

Attorney General Bill Schuette seeks to define Michigan as a state full of transphobic bigots

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette joined with the attorneys general of nine other states to sue the federal government over their recently-released guidance for educators on how to make their schools safe, welcoming places for transgender students. The other states are Arkansas, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

In his press release, Schuette claims to be an ally for transgender students through his OK2SAY program designed to combat violence and bullying in schools. Here is his full statement:

Every child in every school must be provided with dignity, privacy, respect and safety. That is why today, I joined a coalition of 10 attorneys general, led by the State of Nebraska, in a lawsuit that seeks to protect the dignity and privacy of all Michigan students.…

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Racquelle’s story: Focusing on family

Racquelle’s story: Focusing on family

As a new mother, this transgender woman has faced unique challenges that inspired a new direction for her activism.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

When Racquelle Trammell found out that she and her fiancé, Liam Johnson, were expecting their first child, it was a joyous occasion. They knew they wanted to have a child together, even though it meant making sacrifices other couples might not have to make.

For Trammell, conceiving meant going off the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) she’d started a couple of years earlier, as part of transitioning from the male gender she’d been assigned at birth.…

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North Carolina works to make odious transphobic law into a “Papers, please” law for transgender people

North Carolina works to make odious transphobic law into a “Papers, please” law for transgender people

In late March, the North Carolina legislature convened a one-day special session where they steamrolled through legislation making it illegal to use a public restroom not corresponding to your gender at birth. It was quickly signed into law later that night and the state has faced an unprecedented firestorm ever since. The NBA is talking about moving the 2017 All-Star Game scheduled in Charlotte next February to another state. Businesses are refusing to expand into North Carolina. Musicians and other artists are refusing to perform there. The list goes on and on.

Facing this backlash and the economic toll it’s taking on the state, North Carolina lawmakers are back at the drawing board, hoping to pass new legislation that will mollify their detractors.…

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Celebrating a year of marriage equality: “Joy” – June 26, 2015 (PHOTOS)

Celebrating a year of marriage equality: “Joy” – June 26, 2015 (PHOTOS)

This is a repost of piece Anne posted a year ago. The piece has photos taken in Braun Court in Ann Arbor, part of Kerrytown, where the celebration of the Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case which made marriage equality for all Americans the law of the land took place.

Whether you’re married or not, we hope you enjoy the day and reflect on the fact that America became just a little bit more of a perfect union a year ago today.

Enjoy.
The following images were captured at the Braun Court Decision Day celebration in Ann Arbor on June 26, 2015.…

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Justin’s story: Advocating for respect and compassion

Justin’s story: Advocating for respect and compassion

This father of a transgender daughter is committed to overcoming ignorance, online and off.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

At some point, a Facebook meme that demeans transgender people — usually with vicious lies — has come across your feed. If you’re a person with any empathy, it’s probably made you angry, sad or at least disappointed in the person who shared it.

Now imagine you’re the father of a transgender daughter, who is subjected to a barrage of these images day after day, particularly in the wake of the anti-LGBT “bathroom bill” law in North Carolina.…

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Lilianna’s story: Shaping a brighter future

Lilianna’s story: Shaping a brighter future

Raised in an affirming family, this transgender woman now works to lift up marginalized communities.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

Lilianna Angel Reyes has never felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body. To her, transitioning from a boy into a woman felt like something very natural. As she matured into adulthood, she simply decided to embrace exactly who she is.

Growing up in a tight-knit Mexican family with her parents and older brother, Reyes was shaped by principles of faith and feminism. She witnessed racial tensions in her hometown of Saginaw, but also saw her parents’ acceptance of others, including their gay friends.…

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Once again we’re forced to protect ourselves from insane civilians with semi-automatic weapons with ‘thoughts & prayers’

Once again we’re forced to protect ourselves from insane civilians with semi-automatic weapons with ‘thoughts & prayers’

If you’re a politician commenting on the tragedy in Orlando, Florida where the lives of 49 people were extinguished by a madman with a semi-automatic weapon, do us all a favor and do NOT include the phrase “thoughts and prayers” or any iteration of it in your reaction. Thoughts and prayers are like a tissue paper vest when it comes to protecting innocent people from being slaughtered by legally-obtained semi-automatic weapons with the unique ability to mow down large numbers of people in mere moments.

And let’s make no mistake, this was a preventable tragedy. From Barbara Morrill at Daily Kos in her piece, “Here’s what we know about the worst mass shooting in U.S.

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Hate is a Pandora’s Box that has been opened wider this past year

Hate is a Pandora’s Box that has been opened wider this past year

I am not a late sleeper and never have been as an adult. This Sunday morning woke at 4:30 a.m. and, sadly, it’s another morning filled with news of a new hate crime that is being called “domestic terrorism” by Orlando, Florida police. But it is clearly a stark and heartbreaking reminder that hatred is still very prevalent is America today and has been emboldened by a political candidate who, either purposely or not, opened a Pandora’s Box of what some in America see as acceptable.

I am NOT blaming Donald Trump for the atrocious act that we know so little about this morning as I write this, but as we look at at least 20 dead, over 40 injured, and a story that will unfold over the course of the day and weeks ahead, I once again fear that hatred is here to stay for a very long time.…

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Codie’s story: Defying labels to live authentically

Codie’s story: Defying labels to live authentically

However you might define him, this man is who he is.

This is part of a story series about the lives of transgender people. Read the introduction here.

Codie Stone isn’t big on labels. He accepts them as a fact of life in our society. But for Stone, what matters most is living his life authentically. He just wants to be who he is.

Stone’s gender identity wasn’t always clear to him. In fact, he says he didn’t have the “classic transgender” experience of knowing since he was a kid that the female gender he was assigned at birth didn’t reflect his true self.…

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