Equality Virginia’s new “Ask A Trans Person” panel series seeks to raise trans visibility and highlight transgender Virginians’ need for civil rights protections.
87 percent of Americans say they know a gay person, but only 16 percent report knowing a a trans person, according to GLAAD. For this reason, it can be harder for a lot of people to understand the pressing need for protections against discrimination felt by Virginia’s transgender citizens.
With their “Ask A Trans Person” panel series, Equality Virginia hopes to change that. The first of these panels will take place at the Chesterfield Library on Tuesday, November 12, and with it, Equality Virginia hopes to put a human face on the lives and problems of transgender people for Virginians who currently have no context for such things.
The event is being billed as “a safe space to ask questions and engage in respectful dialogue with fellow community members,” and the panel will feature Thalia Hernandez, Equality Virginia’s transgender program coordinator, and Keri Abrams of the Equality Virginia Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau, as well as other members of the Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau.
This might seem like a pretty small step in attempting to put across the essential humanity of transgender people, but I can tell you from personal experience that it makes a difference. As I began my own transition, I was working in retail, and had a variety of conversations with coworkers about issues I faced as a trans woman. While some never seemed to understand, I ended up finding several unlikely allies who, once they considered my situation, realized that transgender people like me deserved better than the treatment we all-too-frequently receive at the hands of government agencies.
With a new Democratic majority in both houses of the General Assembly, we finally have the chance to see real change in the status of LGBTQ protections here in Virginia. A big part of making sure that happens will be dialogue with people who don’t currently understand where our community is coming from. Equality Virginia’s “Ask A Trans Person” panels are a good opportunity to get that conversation started.
Whether you’re a curious newcomer to trans issues, a supportive ally, or a member of the transgender community yourself, your attendance at Equality Virginia’s “Ask A Trans Person” panel is a good way to increase understanding and make a difference. The event will take place starting at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, November 12 at Chesterfield County’s Central Library, located at 7051 Lucy Corr Blvd in Chesterfield. It is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at bit.ly/TransPanelChesterfield.