With more than 1 million Americans self-recognized as transgender, do you know or even understand what it’s like to be trans?
On July 12, The Pride Center and SunServe are teaming up to present Everything You Wanted to Know About the “T” in LGB but Were Too Afraid to Ask — an open and informative panel discussion on all things trans.
The Pride Center’s Transgender Services Coordinator, Jodi Reichman, said even within the gay community, there was a lack of knowledge about transgender people.
“I found that there was a gap where the ‘T’ was concerned due to lack of knowledge and understanding,” Reichman said. “This gave me the idea to try to bridge the gap and work on creating a knowledgeable and yet informal educational opportunity.”
With this panel, she hopes to educate not just the gay community but the community at large about what it means to be trans, and how to ask questions without being insensitive.
“People will ask sensitive questions and although it may seem that they are overstepping bounds, I believe that they basically want to know in order to understand,” she said. “The people picked for the panel are 100 percent open to answering all types of questions without feeling ridiculed or made fun of.”
Atticus Ranck, Director of Transgender Services at SunServe, will be one of more than half a dozen people on the panel. He hopes this panel serves as a safe space for those who want to understand transgender people but are scared to ask questions.
“There are a number of misconceptions about the trans community,” he said. “One is that all trans people are gay. Another one is that all trans people come out as gay first, which is also not accurate.”
The discussion is aimed to educating everyone on the many legal and cultural discriminations that transgender people face. Ranck said intolerance goes far beyond the personal level, it’s also on a professional level.
“It’s not that trans people aren’t capable of being employed or doing certain jobs but many employers don’t understand trans people or think it will cause issues with customers,” he said. “Some employers don’t know someone is trans until they have to see their legal ID and their name and gender hasn’t changed yet. Rather than educating themselves, they’ll simply dismiss the trans person or not hire them.”
In Florida, it is still legal to fire a person for being LGBT.
According to the Williams Institute, about 1.4 million Americans identify as transgender. Florida has the sixth highest amount of self-identified transgender people in the country. With the risk of health and safety, Ranck said there are some issues that go overlooked by the larger community.
“There are many things trans people still have to worry about that cis people take for granted,” he said. “Everywhere trans people go they have to worry about their safety, if they’ll be respected in a restroom, if their family and friends will use the right names and pronouns, who they’ll date and if they’ll be seen as the person they are.”
If You Go
Everything You Wanted to Know About the “T” in LGB but Were Too Afraid to Ask
Tuesday, July 12, 6:30-9 p.m.
The Pride Center: Schubert Building Main Hall
2040 N. Dixie Highway