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CoastLine: Queer in the Cape Fear III - Being Transgender

CHALK FULL OF PRIDE stillpoint wellness.jpg
TR Nunley
/
Chalk art during Pride month 2021 in front of Stillpoint Counseling and Wellness

When we talk about LGBTQ issues, it’s the T that we often leave out of the discussion. That’s at least in part because the Ts are a minority even inside the community. But are they small in number because they’re small in number – or because it’s a much harder road to take? On this third edition of Queer in the Cape Fear, we’re seeking to do a better job of understanding the T. What does it really mean to be transgender?

No one starts out hoping to be gay. No one chooses to be transgender. That’s according to a local psychologist who specializes in LGBTQ+ issues. There’s a lot of pain, said Nova Swanstrom, that goes along with being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.

According to the Trevor Project, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24, and LGBT kids consider and attempt suicide at much higher rates than straight kids. Family acceptance plays a key role: those LGBT kids who come from families who reject their identity are more than eight times as likely to attempt suicide.

While gender identity and sexual orientation are protected classes under the Civil Rights Act, that protection only goes so far and, obviously, cannot and does not mandate social acceptance. But even the legal fight for equal rights is itself a work in progress. The Hill reports recently passed laws in Arkansas and West Virginia restricting transgender rights are unconstitutional. The Department of Justice argues the laws, which would exclude transgender girls from women’s sports and ban gender-affirming care, violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

When we talk about LGBTQ issues, it’s the T that we often leave out of the discussion. That’s at least in part because the Ts are a minority even inside the community. But are they small in number because they’re small in number – or because it’s a much harder road to take?

On this third edition of Queer in the Cape Fear, we’re seeking to do a better job of understanding the T. What does it really mean to be transgender?

Guests:

Nova Swanstrom, (MA, LPA), Psychologist specializing in LGBTQ+ issues

TR Nunley, Program Coordinator, Wilmington Transgender Support Services; leader, activist and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community

Darlene, mother of a teenager who is transgender

Resources:

Wilmington Transgender Community

https://www.wilmingtontranscommunity.com/

Wilmington Transgender Support Services

https://www.wilmingtontranscommunity.com/support

The Trevor Project

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

https://www.onslowcountylgbtq.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pflagwilmingtonnc
https://www.frankharrfoundation.org/

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Rachel hosts and produces WHQR's local public affairs and variety show, CoastLine, which she helped to create. Before joining WHQR, Rachel wrote and produced local TV newscasts for the Wilmington ABC-TV affiliate. She also wrote and produced a 30-minute TV special program for the Cape Fear Museum showcasing its renovation and new exhibits, and she independently wrote and produced a documentary on the lingering effects of the 1898 coup d'etat in Wilmington.