At the Trans Ohio Community regional meeting last week, there was one attendee I have given lots of thought to. First of all she was late and all so shy and came with her sister. (Sister was not looking happy to be there.) As went we around the room, she did say she lived in one of the rural counties around Cincinnati and actually she was afraid to come to the meeting.
I for one was amazed because the meeting itself couldn't have been held in a safer place, with no loss of accepting people. Later though, I began to perhaps understand why. For the most part we all live in pockets of transgender acceptance or lack of acceptance. I live around both. For example, Columbus, Ohio is an incredibly diverse and open TGLBQ city. Cincinnati so far just isn't and Dayton for the most part is. But you can go approximately 50 miles or so south of Columbus and hit some very unforgiving areas. The trans woman in question had to first get out of the house, past her neighbors and into "safe" territory. It's no wonder she was scared.
Shelle, one of the regular visitors to Cyrsti's Condo can certainly speak to the issue of our rural trans sisters. She lives in conservative rural Indiana. Unfortunately, many of the good old strong "folk" who built American values just haven't gotten real liberal lately and want to not extend those values to others. If you are in one of the rural areas, chances are you are even more alone as a transgender person and yes, you do stick out and no, it's not easy to just pick up and move from your home.
I'm not better than anyone else and have a tendency to think if I am able to make trips to places like TransOhio or even the bigger cities around me-why can't everyone else? I know for a fact though, other huge factors for many of our rural sisters are finances and transportation. I'm far from wealthy, but I'm lucky my old car and I are fairly mobile.
It's yet another problem which is easy to sweep under the TGLBQ rug. Every once in while though, someone picks up the rug and takes a look. Here is an example called Transphobia in a Small Town. It's worth a look at how "the other side" lives. Especially if you live in a more liberal urban area.