So recently, I’ve been traveling a lot. I took a week long class trip to Texas, I went to a year of college in Oklahoma, I grew up in Colorado, and I am at a summer program in New York.
Let’s start with Colorado. Growing up, I didn’t know very many LGBT people. I’d heard that a couple of my friends had two moms and I’d briefly talked with one transguy, a gay guy and bi girl on separate occasions over the years. Mostly, people just didn’t talk about such things, unless they were referring to a select city as “Trannyville.” I grew up in a rather conservative city (aka not Boulder). Since CO as a state isn’t ultraconservative, there’s legislation to protect LGBT people. I got a lot of weird looks at school, the store.. wherever I went. (Though on second though that might have been because I was in a serious skinny jeans phase.) I also got a fair share of rude comments at school too.
Onto Oklahoma. Although LGBT people are not legally protected and the state (especially the rural areas) is conservative, the bigger cities aren’t so bad and my university is one of the most accepting places I’ve ever been. I definitely don’t get as many weird looks going around. This may be because I’m usually on campus. Or it might be because I wear 30×32 jeans instead of 1 long. It also might be because I’ve gained some confidence.
New York is completely different than either CO or OK. At first you might think “duh!” but it’s different in so many ways. Here, there are gender neutral bathrooms in a lot of places. I was even at the grocery store panicking about using one. I absolutely had to go though, and to my surprise I didn’t need to worry. People here even consider that you might have a preferred pronoun. The thought of asking someone their preferred pronoun never even crossed my mind before. There’s even gender neutral housing here.
I came out to a friend in the program and he was incredulous that I hadn’t told everyone my preferred pronoun at the beginning. And more people than I though considered the fact that I might be transgender before I told them. In Oklahoma and Colorado, most people seem to assume I’m gay just based on my appearances.
I’m okay with the dynamics in OK/CO though. I’m ready to be myself there, even if there aren’t many other transgender people (that I know of.) And I’m hopeful that things will change a bit there.
What’s it like where you live? If you’re LGBT what are the rights/protections like? If you aren’t LGBT, how does your community treat those that you know?