Sarah Anne

Charlottesville, VA

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My name is Sarah Anne. I’m a native of Virginia, and the mother of a transgender boy. My son, Cory, is an artist and entrepreneur. I have always encouraged independent thinking and identity, but I never really anticipated that who I was raising as a girl to speak her mind, say no, stand on her own two feet, and take care of others but take care of the self too, was actually a boy whom I should be teaching to seek consent, listen to and give girls attention because that’s what they really want. It has not just been a transition for him, but for me too.

 

He figured out a way to graduate high school early because he was facing so much bullying at school. Some of it intentional, some not intentional, but present simply by the gender normative way schools and teachers operate. Early on, he was facing discrimination at his job. Despite knowing better, his boss was using his old name and feminine pronouns, instead of his correct masculine pronouns, in front of new employees and customers, which was demeaning, unprofessional, and caused negative ripple effects in his head and in his heart. My son fights so hard to be himself, so it hurts me whenever people disrespect him in this way. The only way to fix the situation was to let the boss know that if things didn’t change, I would have to personally sit in the café where he works during his shift to make sure that he was treated appropriately. Things did change though. Apparently, the transition is not just his, and mine, but the entire community’s.

 

No one should have to fight this hard just to receive basic respect from their others. My son plans to move out of the house once he turns 18 so he can have his own space. I want him to be happy, but based on the discrimination he faces just walking down the street, I’m terrified for what he might encounter when he’s searching for an apartment as a young transgender man of color. I shouldn’t have to worry about these things and my son should be free to just focus on his art and creative pursuits. It would bring peace of mind and the promise of a secure life to know that transgender people were protected from discrimination in housing and public employment. This would also empower my fellow teachers to be themselves at school so kids like my son can see role models that reflect their own life experiences. I know that we can make this state a better place.