Julie

Roanoke

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Hi, I’m Julie. I am 33 years old and have lived in Virginia for the last five years with my partner and two cats, Zella and Bowie.  I’m currently attending graduate school at Virginia Tech where I study Counselor Education.  I love being a student, enjoy salsa dancing, and have a huge record collection.  I am also a trans ally.

 

I haven’t lived in Virginia for very long, but I’m invested in seeing this state become more inclusive, less homogenous, and more accepting of diverse gender presentations. I have always been vocal in areas where civil rights are not being met or respected.  A big part of my advocacy work is trying to add a third gender option or gender marker to state IDs and driver’s licenses so every Virginian can have their identity accurately represented.

 

While being transgender is becoming less stigmatized, many people struggle to understand or come to terms with what it means. When you aren’t familiar with something, it takes time to learn. In fact, it wasn’t until I met a non-binary person that I realized how much our language and societal rules are set up to exclude identities which exist beyond the male and female binary.  When talking to others who might not grasp what it means to be trans, it is important for me to stay open, acknowledge that it’s ok to ask questions, and emphasize that people deserve to live a gender affirming life.  I believe most people support fair and equal treatment, but sometimes people are unsure how these ideas are translated into action.  It is important for Virginians to know that not having protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations for LGBTQ people allows for discriminatory practices.  Updating the law won’t end discrimination overnight, but it provides one more tool to ensure all people are afforded equal rights and protections.