MariCarmen & Elizabeth
I have worked in the Latino community for a long time. I began to work with LGBTQ people – especially transgender people – and realized that they really needed more safe places. I met Elizabeth that way and learned about her story, her accepting family, and her transition from male to female.
I sometimes talk to young men who can remember being six years old and wanting to dress up in dresses or wear make-up. I tell people that it is incredibly hard being a child and feeling different, not fitting in. The people who are born one gender, but dressing as another are being their true selves – it’s their identity.
A lot of people who grow up feeling that they are LGBTQ hide it and only come out when their children are grown. Some people think, “How selfish!” It’s not selfish: this is who those people truly are and always have been, and they can only now become their true selves. People who come out fear that their parents, children, or the rest of their family won’t love them anymore.
It can be particularly hard for Latino transgender people because they deal with these issues three times over: they are often from another country so they may not have the same rights as others who are already citizens, they are transgender, and they are Latino so they might stand out because of their skin color. It’s really hard for most transgender people to feel accepted in the Latino community because there are these beliefs about males, and what their roles are, and about females, and what their roles are.
Elizabeth deals with this so much, yet she’s also a really respectful, loving and caring person. Her family has been so good to her, but not everyone is so lucky to have families like hers.