Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about stories. Partly because I am writing my first book. Partly because every day I hear stories about people who are very courageously standing up for what is right. Stories of people like Heather Heyer, the young woman brutally murdered for standing up against white supremacy in the United States. Stories of people like Rev. Robert Lee, the descendant of Robert E. Lee who spoke out against the hero worship of his problematic ancestor and lost his pulpit as a result. Stories of people like Munroe Bergdorf, the first transgender model to serve as the face of a major cosmetic brand, who was fired after calling out racism on a live television program.
Stories of everyday people living their lives in pursuit of equality and resistance to evil.
For these people, and the hundreds of thousands like them, standing up to resist hatred isn’t a planned act designed to bolster their reputation. Rather, their actions reflect a deep moral conviction that people should be allowed to live their lives without fear of oppression. And as a result, they lost something. For Rob and Munroe, it was a job they worked hard for while Heather paid the ultimate price.
My story, while not as heroic, is not that dissimilar.
I was born an ordinary person to an ordinary Southern family. For eighteen years, I denied my identity. An identity that was clouded by prejudice, ignorance, and fear. Then, everything changed. I started the difficult process of living an open and affirming life. By the age of 21, I was living my true self. As a result, I lost everything. I lost my job. I lost my home. I lost many of my friends. I lost my family, for a time.
What I didn’t lose was my dignity, my sense of justice, and the courage which pushed me forward.
At the time, I didn’t know that the pain and intense loss I was experiencing would serve as the fertile ground for something beautiful and far-reaching. For twenty years of my life, I didn’t have a word to describe who I was or how I felt. When I finally had a word, transgender, I still didn’t have a good understanding of what that meant. Finding information was hard and sources were often unreliable. From this need, I started work on what would become MyTransitionPartner.com, as I started recording all of the things I learned and all of the resources I had found. Later, difficulties in raising the money necessary to change my name, start hormone therapy, and the still far-off dream of surgery motivated me to do something to end funding difficulties for other transgender people.
Some people would describe me as extraordinary, but I still see myself as an ordinary lady from Alabama living her life and helping others in the best way she can.
The amazing thing about stories is that they have the power to transform not only ourselves but other people. If it weren’t for a transgender person sharing their story with me, I might not be where I am today. If it weren’t for me telling my story, MyTransitionPartner.com might not be helping an average of 500 people a day, and the DJC Fund might not be poised to assist ten people in North Dakota change their name by July 2018.
The other amazing thing about stories is the power they have to compound and create something even bigger than the storyteller could ever imagine.
Since 2013, I have had the distinct privilege of listening to other transgender, queer, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary individuals tell me their stories. Many of those stories have made me very sad, very angry about what it means to be a transgender person living in the United States in 2017. Some of them have been frankly heartbreaking. All of them have been life-changing for me and for every single person I’ve helped. That is because from these stories I have found strength and purpose and new directions for my work to take.
Over the next month and a half, I hope that we can start hearing your story.
My request is simple: Would you share your story with us? We have set up a portal where you can tell us who you are, how you got to where you are, what you want the world to look like for transgender people, and how the Foundation can help make that vision a reality. We want to hear from our TQ+ friends, we want to hear from our cisgender LGB and straight allies, and we want to hear from the people who love transgender, queer, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary individuals (family, best friends, partners).
In telling your story, you will change the world.
Darcy Corbitt-Hall She/Her/Hers
President and CEO
Board Meeting Delayed: Due to Hurricane Irma, our Executive Office was unable to prepare for the Board meeting scheduled for September 16. We are in the process of rescheduling our meeting for later in the month.
ND Dignity Grant Applications Delayed: We are still working on getting procedures in place to receive and process grant applications. Applications will be open October 1.
Seeking Volunteers: We are seeking volunteers in the Western United States, New England, and the Southwestern United States to develop state guides in these regions. Visit DarcyCorbitt.org/volunteer to apply as a content editor.
Call for Submissions: Pathways is seeking submissions for the fall issue. The theme is Reclaiming Identity, and essays, poems, short-stories, or artwork should speak to that theme. Visit PathwaysMag.blog/submit-content for more information.
FY 2018 Financial Pledging: Information will be sent out by October 1, regarding making a financial pledge toward our 2018 budget.
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Darcy Jeda Corbitt Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity promoting the health and global wellbeing of transgender, queer, and gender nonconforming individuals. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by US Federal Tax Code.
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