Arlington, VA

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My name is Jennifer. I am a 41-year-old, former teacher. I have a deep love of literature, stories, and storytelling. I have a degree in creative writing and I have written several short stories and a novel. I am also a transgender woman.


I have faced discrimination inside and outside of the workplace. Instead of going into the details of what happened to me, I wanted to voice what I felt and learned from my experience. Discrimination felt (and still feels) like a very personal invalidation of who I am. It is something that stripped me of my humanity. I questioned myself and my own judgment because I was being told in so many words that I was “less than” or “broken.” Unfortunately, for a time, I believed what others told me about myself. It took a lot of hard work to teach myself that I am allowed to write my own story.


Being a writer and former teacher, I know the power of storytelling. Sharing the stories of real trans people reaffirms our humanity and encourages empathy. Empathy is powerful. It allows us to relate to one another, fully embrace who we are, and expand our community. I believe that we read stories because we want to relate with people different from ourselves. This desire is deeply rooted in a longing for connection that is so purely human. I want as many people as possible to have access to my story. Maybe they will see a part of themselves in me. Maybe it will help them fully embrace who they are. Maybe it’s just new information. In any case, I want to put the opportunity for connection out in the world.


I want to help others understand that I’m a person like any other, deserving of respect. Transgender people are not currently protected when it comes to housing, public accommodations, and employment, despite our attempts to pass legislation for nondiscrimination protections. The mark of a culture’s commitment to equality and justice can be measured by how safe and accessible their public spaces are to all members of its citizenry. Passing legislation that grants equal access to public life (be it the school, the grocer’s, the park, or the local town hall) is the first and most important step in creating a Virginia that serves as an example of equity and we can be proud to call home. Ultimately, we are here, we’re alive, and we should be treated with fairness, just like anyone else.