LGBTQ+ Pride Month: T Saechou

1. What is your lgbtq status and would you briefly explain it for those who may not be familiar.  I’m the T in LGBTQ  and as far as I know, I’m the first Mien transgender woman of our ethnicity. At birth my gender marker identified me as “male” but through modern medicine and technology I have corrected that by living happily as “female” since 1997. To understand what “transgender” means you have to be capable within yourself to fully accept the fact that I am a woman now and not factor in the other fact that I was ever “male”. The closer you can reach that understanding, the better friendship we will have.  From my personal experiences. Two things I want to get across is. If your not a transgender woman yourself than you should let someone like me define the word “transgender”. I also meet people who can not differentiate between transgender and gay. The obvious answer is - people don’t ask gay men the same questions they ask transgender women...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender This is how I will explain it today.  2. What does the term “come out of the closet” mean to you.  “Come out of the closet” is a term that implies a lgbt person has now freely identified themselves as their true self, a lgbtq person.  3. What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?  As someone who has gone through numerous friendships, I would honestly just tell myself to be more careful with who I am friends with.  4. What, if any cultural difficulties do you face and how do you think it should be addressed?  Cultural difficulties. (Takes a deep breath.) I can only speak of my experiences, I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else. I understand the curiosities... I can accept the behaviors of our elders because they came from a different world. People of my generation, I feel should learn to educate themselves more not just about lgbtq statuses but about how to interact sensitively with someone who is lgbtq. At this point, I think most Mien people have a lgbtq person in their lives.  I’d also like to add. Sometimes I feel like I’m not allowed to have any reaction to things. An example is, sometimes I don’t mind the wrong questions or conversations but I should also be allowed to have a reaction to it.  5. What is one event that helped shape your life? Finding my endocrinologist and getting my first female hormone shot was the first big step of my journey to become a woman. As a transgender woman, I have to take female hormones forever.  6. What is an accomplishment you are proud of? I’m proud to have lived 21+ years as a transgender woman and not faced some of the hardships my fellow transgender people have faced.  By the way, in addition to the inequalities the female gender faces in our society. Transgender women face a disproportionate amount of societal discrimination in housing, healthcare, employment, etc. and hate crimes compared to our gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and even transgender male counterparts and keep in mind it’s 2019.  7. Lastly, we’d like to give you a opportunity to say something, anything you like.  In general, I’d love to see more diverse societal advocacy from Mien people. For this topic, I think more Mien lgbtq people should speak up about their status, educate our people, and correct someone when they misspeak on our identities. Personally, I get tired of being asked questions I prefer not to be asked. Even worst, hearing about the wrong misconceptions of not just mine but our lgbtq identities. The more something is seen or heard, the more it becomes normalized and eventually embraced. Thank you and take care.

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