Shawana

North Chesterfield, VA

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My name is Shawana. I am a mother of three children, a mentor, and an advocate for everyone, including transgender people. For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who cares about accepting people and treating them fairly. As a parent, my most important role in life, I have taught my children to show respect for everyone no matter who they are, where they come from, or how they look. I strongly believe that when we show respect for one another, we will live together in a better world.

 

I attended the “Ask a Trans Person” panel put on by Equality Virginia, because I wanted to gain more knowledge about the transgender community, and I brought my kids to show them the value of respecting other people and their experiences. I also mentor teenagers in manners and values in one-on-one sessions and in classes as part of a summer camp. I tell the teens I work with that everyone deserves to be treated equally. We can never know everyone’s struggle, so we need to learn from others and show them compassion.

 

Refusing to treat transgender people equally under the law is basically taking someone’s life away for no reason. Do you like having a job, having enough to eat, and having a roof over your head? Well, so does everyone else – we all need and deserve those things. Passing protections for transgender people in housing and public employment is an important move in the right direction as part of a larger goal of treating all humans with respect. Life is hard enough, so it’s a lot better when we stop judging other people and help them live their best life.