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America in Transition


When County Clerk Kim Davis got out of jail for refusing to honor the rights of gays and lesbians who wanted to marry, she was met by hundreds of cheering fans. Could you imagine being a trans kid in Kentucky watching the event? The fact that so many people heralded her heroism shows just how divided our country is.

I was born in a Southern Baptist family in a military town in Virginia. A tomboy from a young age, I grew up with the inference that I was a dyke bubbling just beneath the surface of my social existence. The tension would come smashing through to the surface at choice moments like when the preacher came down off of the pulpit to scream at me in front of the whole congregation and lay his hands on my forehead that I might be healed of my sinning ways. People who wanted to be supportive encouraged me to “go to Massachusetts…You’ll fit in there,” which I now understand as an oblique reference to a promised land that passed gay marriage a decade before practically anywhere else.

Rural trans folks and trans people of color everywhere face hostility on a regular basis. Many of us come to cities like Chicago from tiny owns all over the US because we imagine moving as our only option to live full lives, find partners, and get access to affirming healthcare. After a year of futile attempts, I moved to Chicago and started hormones a week later. I cried. The problem with this strategy of moving is that we lose parts of ourselves—our accents, our culture, our history, our connections to family. We lose pride in where we come from.

Now I am a storyteller, an artist and an activist. I’m a historian who weaves moments, facts, and perceptions into a coherent story of how we got where we are right now. I see my documentary practice as a science fiction of sorts that involves writing the history of tomorrow.                                                       

My newest project is America in Transition (AIT), a documentary web series and community engagement campaign about trans people from underrepresented communities such as trans people of color, rural trans folks, and immigrants. AIT will work with local community groups to create more safe places in small towns and in communities of color across the US. Our educational web series will help local leaders develop allyship and equip trans folks with more tools to talk about the issues our communities face.

The Trans Oral History Project has been developing this project for a year—building relationships with partner organizations, creating website mock ups, finding interviewees, and more. Funders won't believe in us until we can show them we have supporters in our own community. We only have a few days left to raise enough money to show that we are serious and can get this project off the ground!

There only three days left to stand with us to support trans people being heard. Make a tax-deductible donation to our Indiegogo campaign so that we can shoot our first footage. Share our campaign with your friends by forwarding a link to this page and posting on social media. Please donate today and spread the word!

by André Pérez, the Director/Producer of America in Transition, a web series, interactive multimedia map, and mobile app featuring trans stories across the US. Check out America in Transition on Facebook. Pérez is also the founder of Trans Oral History Project and facilitator at Storycorps Chicago.