Anthony

Fredericksburg, VA

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My name is Anthony. I’m a first year college student studying political science, I’m an artist, and I’m trans-masculine. This means that although I was raised as a girl, I knew that I wasn’t a boy or a girl, but simply a masculine person. Starting in high school, I was able to be my authentic self at school, but it wasn’t always easy. I had to brace myself whenever there was a substitute teacher because they would often scoff at me asking them to use my preferred name. Also, after using the men’s restroom for three years without any issue, the school told me I had to use a different restroom on the opposite side of the building from everyone else. I was singled out and made to feel different from other students, just because of who I was. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the only time.

 

I also worked at a restaurant when I was in high school. After finding out I was transgender, my boss ended up saying that no one wanted to see someone like me as a host at a restaurant. Then, he fired me. I was lucky that I had my family to support me, but not everyone is so lucky. If I had been older, that job might have meant the difference me living on the streets or not. Going into my next year at college, I’m hoping to find an apartment off campus. Of course, I’m worried that rental places won’t accept me once they find out I’m transgender.  I’m going to do some research to find out which places have been friendly to transgender renters, but that’s a step I shouldn’t have to take. Not to mention, I’ll find a much smaller pool of places from which to choose. Everyone should be able to find adequate housing and be considered on equal footing. Without secure housing, so many other aspects of my life would suffer including my health, my safety, and my ability to stay in college.

 

It’s so important that Virginia updates its protections to ban discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Everyone needs a job to make a living, a place to call home, and the ability to safely buy goods and services. Passing this legislation is an easy way to help people live more secure lives. I don’t want to have to worry about future employers or landlords treating me differently because of who I am. Right now, I want to focus on the things that matter like my education, finding time for friends, and helping others in my community.