Crazy Trannies Invade Ladies Room! MTPC Dispels Common Myths
As part of a move to dispel the myths and stereotypes around the transgender community, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) introduces the addition of four new video stories to its public education campaign, I AM: Trans People Speak.
The new videos, featuring staff members of The Theater Offensive (TTO), aim to promote public awareness and understanding of the transgender community, and to dispel commonly held misconceptions surrounding the trans community.
"One is that all transgender people access medical surgery, and if you don’t you’re not trans. The second is that transgender women will invade women’s spaces (restrooms, for example) and harm women. And the third is that we are all mentally ill," said MTPC Executive Director Gunner Scott, about the top three stereotypes faced by transgender people.
Scott, who led the concept development of this video project, said that in truth, transgender women are using women’s restrooms already and more often they are the ones experiencing violence, discrimination and harassment.
The Trans People Speak campaign shoots to break down these stereotypes by exposing the public not only to transgender individuals and their unique stories, but also to their friends, allies and family members, who help to make this subject universally relatable.
"It’s hard to argue with someone’s mom," noted Scott. Right he is. It is also hard to argue against a peer undergoing the same pressures and struggles as you are.
Transgender ally Abe Rybeck is executive director of The Theater Offensive, a Boston-based theater company dedicated to giving voice to the diverse range of LGBT experiences through community art. Through the campaign, even his understanding of trans people has evolved.
The I AM: Trans People Speak video campaign began in Boston in November of 2010 as a way to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about the transgender community and the diversity that exists within it. It has been going strong and picking up momentum ever since, undergoing national expansion and partnering with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) last year.
Personal Stories of Transgender Individuals Further Understanding
TTO Executive Artistic Director Intern Gabe is a 22-year-old "activist, brother, boyfriend and trans guy," from Taunton, MA. His is one of the newest voices featured in the I AM: Trans People Speak videos (see video below), along with those of TTO Communications Officer Allison Francis, and TTO Executive Art Director intern, Kaamila.
In his video, Gabe discusses the difficulty of being the only member of his family who is queer or gender variant, and his personal story of questioning and finding who he is, which makes him all the more easy to relate to.
Because Gabe’s name and gender marker have not been legally changed, he said that his search for employment has been "a nightmare." He expressed frustration at going almost six months without paid employment.
"I have an education, I have a college degree and I know that I have the skill set to get a good job. But the factors of the job market and my identity seem like these constant roadblocks," said Gabe.
While not everyone can appreciate Gabe’s identity struggle specifically, a countless number of his peers are currently facing the same challenge of finding gainful employment in today’s unsteady economy.
The Associated Press reported in April that about half of recent college grads are unemployed or underemployed. And this is "exactly the point," said Scott: to show that trans people are connected to a variety of different and intersecting communities and that they share the same dreams, goals and issues as everybody else.
A stirringly honest video comes from Magda, an actor, teacher and trans ally. She discusses the adjustment of coming from a predominantly white Catholic background and encountering diversity as an adult.
"When I meet someone that was not represented when I was growing up, I do see them as ’the other,’" said Magda. "Sometimes I assume things that aren’t true, sometimes I judge, sometimes I’m confused and sometimes I’m scared, because this is unfamiliar territory for me."
Becoming involved with the TTO project also helped Magda face her fears.
"I am so lucky to work with the people I have worked with because they have taught me to unlearn what was modeled for me growing up," said Magda.
Scott said that it is really important for people to have trans allies, to help ease people into education and create an awareness that extends to the general public. The members of the TTO shared this sentiment, saying that they submitted their video stories to help dispel transgender myths. They hoped other individuals and organizations would do that same.
Transgender individuals, friends, family members and trans allies are encouraged to share their personal narratives by clicking "Submit Your Story" on the I AM: Trans People Speak homepage.