Mechanicsville, VA

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My name is Michelle. I’m 45-years-old, I work as a project manager, and I’m an trans ally. I’ve been learning about and interacting with the LGBT community since the early ‘90s. I’ve heard of the discrimination and physical violence my friends have endured. It breaks my heart to think that people I care for have experienced so many traumas in their lives, just because they are their true selves. My mother raised me to be loving and supportive, especially to those who are hurting, which is why I’m speaking out.


Also, recently, my sister’s child came out to me as trans. They’ve told me they’re using they/them pronouns until further notice, so now I have a nibling (yes that’s a word) instead of a niece or a nephew. When they came out to me, they told me they had been experiencing anxiety and depression related to coming out. They’ve been incredibly afraid to put themselves out there. My immediate family has responded that we’re going to keep loving them just the same. This has all just made me question that if my nibling has a supportive family and was still this scared, how terrifying must it be for other trans people to come out?


What I’ve realized is that family connections matter, but so do community supports. If the community doesn’t support you enough to say you deserve to be housed, employed, or able to buy basic goods and services without fear of discrimination, then how are you supposed to feel safe? My nibling is a young adult. They’re going to have to face this uncertainty very soon. Our family can give them all the support in the world, but that only goes so far. I want them and everyone like them to be able to be less afraid, which is why I support nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations.