SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – June is the annual LGBT Gay Pride month and one local organization wants to let people in the transgender community know they are not alone.
Zoe Williams, who is president of the Shreveport Chapter of Louisiana Trans Advocates, says the group not only pushes for legislation in local, state and federal governments, but also offers information and a supportive community for transgender people.
Although depression is often common among the LGBTQ community, Williams said it’s highest among transgender people.
“We have a higher incidence of suicide,” Williams said of the transgender community. “Unfortunately, we’re the highest in the LGBTQ community. Depression is really rampant, of course, and just the fact we are trans.
She added that the murder rate among transgender people is the highest in the LGBTQ community.
One woman in the community who asked that we only use her first name, Elizabeth, said her entire family disowned her when she announced she had decided to transition her body from a male to a female.
“I went to see my father and he slammed the door. And that was in June of 1992. Even on his death bed. He would not talk to me,” she said.
After her father died, her family eventually accepted her, but, she said, many families never do. She attends the Trans Advocates monthly meetings, where she finds a supportive community.
She said people commit hate crimes against transgender people, “because they don’t think we should be doing this.”
But with Elizabeth, who underwent reassignment surgery in 1995, said from an early age, she knew she was different.
“I knew something was wrong when I was 3-, 4-, 5-years old. I didn’t know what because that was back in the 50’s.”
She said she started on hormones in 1992, and decided to go all the way through with surgery, which she underwent in 1995.
“It’s not something that is you just wake up one morning and I’m going to be a woman. It’s nothing like that. It’s something in your body, you just know isn’t right and you want to correct it.”
Williams said the Shreveport chapter wants transgender people to know there are other people out there and they’re not alone.
The local meetings are held from 1:30-3 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 9449 Ellerbe Road, Shreveport, 71106.
Williams may be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org