Transgender people are everywhere. Even in some of the smallest towns, the most conservative towns, you’ll find transgender people. No matter where you live, transgender or trans attracted, if you’re wanting to find love, it’s out there.
Yet, many such places have few services through which transgender and trans attracted people can get help navigating their identities. Sometimes, such towns can be hostile. So trans and trans attracted people may be under the radar. It might look like they’re not around. But they are.
Think You’re Alone? Think Again.
Centralia, Washington is just such town. Located thirty minutes south of Olympia Washington, Centralia is known for its unusual history being the only town in the United States founded by a black man and son to former slaves. Incredibly, his name? George Washington. True story.
Centralia is also known for its conservatism. Like many rural American communities, it leans republican. Centralia sits in “the most conservative county in Washington” according to Zoe Oliver, a Centralia resident and LGBTQIA activist.
But Centralia is quickly gaining a name for itself as a booming LGBTQIA center in its County, thanks to a handful of organizations and individuals like Oliver.
One such organization is Centralia College. Very open and accepting of people of all kinds, Centralia College is home to the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). GSA is the longest running LGBTQIA organization in Lewis County. It advocates for broader awareness and acceptance of equality and LGBTQIA education, among other things.
Oliver attends school at the college. She also is vice president of GSA. In January, Oliver, representing the College’s Student Activities Team (SAT) asked us to have a table at their Sexual Health And Awareness Fair held in March. The ask is the first time The Transamorous Network has been invited to attend a live event.
At first we thought to decline Oliver’s invite. It isn’t typically what we do. Knowing what we know about how life works, however, we speculated SAT’s invite represented more opportunity than downside.
We were right.
A Growing LGBTQ Community Likes Our Message
Several organizations, Pierce County AIDS Foundation (PCAF), Mpowerment, Washington, Planned Parenthood and others also staffed tables. While organizers acknowledged student attendance was lower than expected, we met important allies in our work.
Of the people who did attend, we met early-stage transitioning women and men, parents of transgender children, educators who advocate for LGBTQ equality, and allies.
Everyone hearing our message that “your stories create your reality” had the same response. “It makes sense” they said. Your stories create your reality, including your behaviors, relationships (or lack thereof), your entire life. They even decide who you meet, when you meet them and how.
Your stories also shape your relationship with sexual health, how you choose sexual partners, who you choose, and how you practice sex.
We like to say sexual health is more than a condom or dental dam. It starts in the head (with your stories), not between your legs.
That’s the message we brought to the event. It was a unique message well received.
Our Message Is Getting Larger Audiences
We’re excited about what the future holds having made acquaintances in Centralia. We’re not spilling the beans, but it sounds like interesting opportunities may spring from within not only that community, but from others nearby.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll be invited to more such events. We’re always open to following leads our intuition sends us.
Another thing I got from being there was confirmation of what I already knew: transgender people are everywhere.
Even in the most conservative small towns, you’ll find transgender people looking for love, belonging and needing resources to navigate their lives.
And you can bet if there are transgender people, there are people who love transgender people living there too. So no matter where you live, opportunities for love for trans attracted people are available.
Want to find them? You’re going to have a hard time doing so if you believe they aren’t there. Learn to tell the right stories though and you’ll meet them as easily as putting one foot in front of the other.
Check out this short film we made about our participation at the fair. If you’re new to our material, we overview our approach in this radio interview.