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Meet Carmen

BY: Trevor News

“At the beginning of the school year, my guidance counselor reached out to me and asked me if I wanted her to get workplace training on trans identities. And initially I was hesitant. But they did have the workplace training, and I came across some of my former teachers and they expressed support for me. I went back to school my senior year, in person, and I had this fear of being misgendered or dead-named. And none of the teachers did.” 

– Carmen (she/her)

As a kid, Carmen found joy in her mom’s closet; she enjoyed dressing up in her mom’s bandanas and trying on her favorite thigh-high boots. However, Carmen’s family wasn’t fully accepting of  non-heteronormative gender expression, making it difficult for Carmen to come out as gay in middle school. Carmen eventually found community at the Attic Center for LGBTQ+ youth in Philadelphia, where she met friends who taught her about the expansiveness of the trans and nonbinary umbrella. Carmen came out as trans after her sophomore year of high school, and when her mom called to notify the school, Carmen’s guidance counselor offered to enroll in a training program. Other teachers followed suit, and Carmen didn’t remember a single incident of being misgendered or being called her dead name. This support made school a supportive place; Carmen graduated (with honors!) making her the first Black trans woman to do so and paving the way for others.

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