During my time in the program I joined the bi-weekly in person support group which changed the way I not only viewed myself but saw the way in which society viewed the trans community overall. Being a white, young, middle class male with family support I realized just how lucky I was when sitting in my group. The group was made up of myself and trans women of color, most HIV positive and living either on the streets on couch surfing. They had been kicked out of their homes, engaging in sex work for survival, assaulted physically and verbally daily and had little to no sense of safety and stability besides each other. The power they instilled within one another inspired me. The love and empowerment they had for themselves, regardless of what society told them, helped me find that in myself as well. Recognizing my immense privilege and combining my appreciation and love for these individuals who changed my life, I made a commitment at 15 years old to never stop fighting and advocating for the transgender community.
Staying true to my commitment, within the last 15 years I have traveled the country giving workshops, lectures, and classes on trans related issues. These topics include, but are not limited to, empowering trans youth to have healthy relationships, coaching trans individuals in job placement techniques, training mental health clinicians to be trans affirmative and giving trans employee and diversity trainings to large companies. I also have appeared on many media outlets such as Oprah, Buzzfeed and Dr. Phil. I believe that by sharing my story I can help society view our community as anything but the negative tropes we are portrayed as. But what I learned most in my teen years and what I carry strongly with me to this day is the importance of community. My community and trans friends saved my life. Without them I don’t know where I would. This is why I continue to fight for my community, because I know that by helping to keep someone alive I am in helping so many others do the same, as evidenced by the importance of our community connection. Now as a mental health clinician and running my own non-profit to empower the trans community by ways of strong mental health support, I am excited to be truly fulfilling the mission and promise I made to myself so many years ago. It is my hope that I can provide resource to the community so that one day society is visibility overrun by strong willed, beautiful, loving, and thriving trans and non-binary individuals.