Elizabeth

Charlottesville, VA

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My name is Elizabeth. I’m a sci-fi and fantasy nerd, a software engineer, a farmer, and a transgender woman. I was born and raised in a farm family in Kentucky, but I eventually moved to Virginia for an opportunity to achieve my dream job.  When I was born, and for most of my life up until a few years ago, the world and my family saw me as a man, but I knew something about that didn’t fit, and it caused me a great deal of anxiety. In hindsight, the person I was before I transitioned seems a limited version of my real self.

 

Then in 2016, I experienced a life-changing epiphany that clarified my understanding, and after a few months of reflection I decided to transition. At first I was concerned about living as an openly transgender woman, and what family and friends would think, but I felt compelled to live an authentic life. With each step since then, my sense of clarity in who I am, and my sense of self-confidence, have grown so that I’m not afraid anymore. I live each day as myself now, without anxiety, and this is the happiest I have ever been.

 

I had been at my dream job for about 7 years before I decided to transition. In spite of my earlier fears, everyone at my work has been supportive, and my company is dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. After I came out, I was asked for input so the employee manual could be updated to better reflect support for employees who are transgender.   Not only has my workplace been a positive experience, I haven’t encountered any issues with being openly transgender in my community. While my mother and father back in Kentucky sadly no longer speak to me, my extended family and my friends here in Virginia have been more accepting and kind. A couple of old friends have grown more distant, but I’ve also gained new friends, and no one has been unkind to me.

 

Transgender people are just like everyone else: we all need a job and a place to live. No one should be treated differently just because of who they are. While I’ve been extremely lucky in owning my own home and having an accepting workplace, not every transgender person has the same positive experience. I support nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations because we all need to be secure in our job, housing, and comfort in public spaces to lead a fulfilling life.