The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is excited to announce the release of three new stories as part of their multi-media public education campaign entitled I AM: Trans People Speak. The new videos come from four members of The Theater Offensive (TTO) Staff. TTO engages local community members in creating art that gives voice to the diversity of LGBT experiences.
I AM: Trans People Speak is a project to raise awareness about the diversity that exists within transgender communities. It gives a voice to transgender individuals, as well as their families, friends and allies. MTPC launched the groundbreaking I AM: Trans People Speak project in conjunction with Transgender Awareness Week in November 2010, and has since released new videos on a consistent basis. I AM: Trans People Speak is a collection of recorded stories that aims to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions of transgender individuals by highlighting the realities of their lived experiences. I AM: Trans People Speak fosters support and raises awareness for trans communities by providing a forum where these unique stories can be shared and given significance.
One of the new videos features Abe Rybeck, TTO’s Executive Artistic Director, founder, and trans ally. TTO grew out of a drag street theater troupe in 1989, which Abe says is just one way in which his life and work owe everything to the inspiration and patience he has received from his trans friends and colleagues. Abe describes his path to becoming an ally and the ways his trans friends helped him overcome his ignorance to better understand what it means to be trans.
Another new video comes from Allison, TTO’s Communications Manager, an activist, singer/ songwriter, and trans ally. In her video, she talks about the struggles her transgender friends and colleagues face, and shares the way she works to be an ally to the trans community.
Kaamila, an Executive Artistic Director Intern at TTO who is learning how to be a trans ally, shares her unique experience as a person of color and a bisexual and queer identified woman. This experience has allowed her to understand the diversity of experiences among LGBT people and their various needs. In her video, Kaamila stresses the importance of educating yourself and taking responsibility for learning how to be a better ally to the transgender community.
The final new addition to the I AM: Trans People Speak website comes from Gabe who is an Executive Artistic Director Intern at TTO, activist, a brother, a boyfriend, and a trans guy. Gabe weaves an engaging narrative that discusses identity, family, and struggle, telling the joy of being accepted by friends, as well as the painful reality of being a college graduate who struggles to find a job because of his legal name and gender marker, making the process difficult. In his video, Gabe says “I want people to know that the transgender community is just as rich and diverse as any other community of people… I don’t want people to think that there’s one cookie cutter way to be transgender.”
These videos highlight the central mission of the I AM: Trans People Speak project by showing the diversity of experiences among transgender people and allies who belong to a wide variety of intersecting communities. Gunner Scott, MTPC’s Executive Director said, “MTPC is committed to giving transgender people and their allies the opportunity to be heard. We are thrilled that The Theater Offensive has submitted these videos, and hope that other individuals and organizations will submit their stories in order to expand the range of voices and experiences represented in the project.”
To watch these videos and more please visit: www.transpeoplespeak.org.