Peter

Lynchburg, VA

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I’m Peter and I’m a 26 year-old veterinary technician. I’ve lived in Lynchburg my whole life, and I’m a transgender man. When I was around two or three years old, I knew something didn’t feel right, but I didn’t have the words for it. I would say to my mom, “I want to be a boy” and she assumed I didn’t want to be a girl because of the kinds of female role models I was seeing. She gave me examples of strong women and tried to empower me, which was great, but it didn’t really get to what I was truly feeling. In high school and college, I decided I would just try to be more feminine to sort of make the most of my situation. I just ended up feeling miserable. It wasn’t until I met another trans person that I realized what was going on with me, which was a relief. The more I learned about transitioning and coming out, though, the more overwhelmed I became so I ended up avoiding it for a while. But, as time went on, I met more trans people and I realized I could transition to live my life as the man I’ve always known myself to be.

 

It wasn’t an easy process coming out to people. I told some friends and family who were wonderful and accepting, but I also had “friends” who told me I was no longer welcome in their homes. I came out on Facebook, in the hopes that anyone who didn’t support me would simply remove themselves from my friends list, but I was sad to see some of those people tell me I was “flying in the face of Jesus.” I hope that sharing my experience will help people to open their eyes. I know people who have become more accepting after getting to know a trans person. In fact, I have a family friend who supported the North Carolina bathroom bill at first, but changed his mind on it once he realized I had come out as trans. This just goes to show that it’s a lot harder to support harmful policies when you know someone it directly impacts.

 

As a trans person in his twenties, protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations would seriously benefit me. I wouldn’t have to worry about jobs rejecting me because they found my old name in a background check. Or my boss firing me without warning just because I’m trans. Or whether I’ll be kicked out of a restaurant or movie theater when I’m with friends. Or not being able to move out of my mom’s house because people won’t rent to me. Policies like these would give me the security that everyone else has, which is really all I want. I just want to live my life and be respected. It’s time for that to be a guarantee for all trans people.