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Wilton Community Center hosts talk on transgender issues



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, August 09, 2018 9:52AM

“We don’t try to provoke anyone or make drama. We’re not trying to make a political statement. There’s nothing flamboyant about us and the way we live our lives. We’re just trying to go out and do the thing we would do if we were both heteronormative.”

It rarely is that easy, said Lila, a resident of the Monadnock region, who requested that her last name not be used to prevent potential retaliation. Lila was one of two speakers who attended a talk at the Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library scheduled for Wednesday night, put on by the Wilton Community Center to talk about transgender issues and answer questions from residents. The other speaker was a transgender woman. The two have been speaking together with groups for nearly ten years.

Lila’s spouse is transgender, she said in an interview Monday, something that was revealed to her as the two of them entered the exclusive stage of their dating relationship.

“I hadn’t had any exposure before that to anyone who was transgender,” she said. “I just decided to take it day by day and see what would happen. It forced a different kind of communication, which I think it important for all couples to have.”

In their 15 year relationship, Lila said, she’s seen countless instances of intolerance. 

“People will say the most God-awful things, we’ve had security guards try to remove us from places. People behave like paparazzi, thinking that they can just take pictures or flip up a skirt. Basic things like that that are just not OK,” Lila said.

One of the issues, she said, is that even as protections have moved forward for the gay and lesbian community, those same protections don’t always extend to transgender people. For example, anti-discrimination laws and policies often include protections sexuality, but less frequently gender identity. Or, laws like bathroom bills aimed at requiring people use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate or similar language are specifically targeted at transgender people.

“If you’re gay, you can still use the bathroom,” she said. 

Lila said that her spouse used to do these talks with her, but in the last five years or so, she’s seen animosity grow when her spouse goes out dressed in feminine clothing.

“There’s more ridicule, glaring, public statements, there’s a lot more animosity that’s palpable and frightening. The last couple of years has been absolutely more frightening and challenging to go out dressed more authentically,” she said.

Even when people give gestures of support such as smiles, nods or thumbs up, Lila said, while it’s nicer than the alternative, the best way interactions are where people don’t take any special notice.

“The best thing that I can say is to encourage people to lead with kindness, and assume that someone else’s life is none of their business. And I don’t mean that in a mean way. Just know that you don’t know anything about that person, assume that there is a tremendous amount of bravery behind being willing to present themselves that way, and that it doesn’t have to impact you in any way. Our job is just to be kind and let each other live our  lives.”

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.