Glade Spring, VA

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I’m Emily, I’m 42 years old, I’m going back to school for a degree in social work, and I’m an ally to transgender people. I’m on the board of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Highlands and we’ve been working to make our church as welcoming and inclusive as possible. We live in a fairly conservative area, and our church really cares about making sure that everyone who comes to visit us feels safe and accepted.


When Seth from Equality Virginia’s Transgender Speaker’s Bureau visited our church this fall, many of us were able to learn something new. Seth is a transgender man, as well as a husband, a dad, and an avid gardener. I really enjoyed getting to know Seth and his story made me want to take the next step, and share my support for the transgender community. I hope that by sharing my voice, I can become a better advocate.


Normally, I’m a fairly introverted person, but I feel so strongly about doing the right thing, that I just had to speak up. In Virginia, trans people are incredibly vulnerable because no protections are in place. I feel if everyone went out and got to know trans people, they’d see that we’re all the same. At the end of the day, housing, employment, and public accommodations are basic rights that everyone deserves. I would like to see nondiscrimination protections passed to support the dignity and worth of trans lives.