An Introduction

Let’s start with an introduction..

My name is Ashley McLaughlin. I am a transsexual woman living in Lancaster Pennsylvania. I am an advocate, an LGBTQIA Rights Activist. I have a strong focus on transgender rights though, which are my own issues, and which are years behind the Gay Rights movement. For now, I work at a local Starbucks, and I volunteer and do activism on the side.

When I was a child, I didn’t feel like a normal boy, I knew I was something else. Something was wrong, and as I went through puberty, it got worse. I slowly unraveled the truth. I researched, I talked, I asked questions. Eventually, the word Transgender was mentioned in an Anthropology class. That word shattered my world. I doubled my efforts researching. It took me a long time, but a close friend helped me pull myself out of the closet.. even if it was by force.

I didn’t know what exactly I was. There was a great deal of shame and sadness. It took me years before I even had the strength to transition. By time I went to the Mazzoni Center to see someone professionally, I was already strongly involved in the LGBT community and had done my research ahead of time.

I started hormone replacement therapy in October. It was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life, but it is the one that I am most confident in, and most happy with.

The changes were extremely slow, both physically and socially around me. It was almost a year before I was living completely as who I am. Slowly the people around me saw my change, and began to change themselves, slowly accepting this new woman into their lives.

My transition from male to female was the biggest and most noticable change, but there weremany others as well. The second most amazing change was my immersion into the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Androgynous/Allies) community as a leader. I became the president of my campus’s queer group in September 2009. Slowly I grew into the position of leadership. I found I had an ability to talk openly with many people from diverse backgrounds and help them to understand issues in the queer community. During my second semester as president, my focus became reaching out to other minority communities and collaborating, making their issues known to the LGBTQIA community, and making our issues known to these other diverse communities. The motto “We are all oppressed and we are all oppressors” from the Pedagogy of the Oppressed became my philosophy. I know, now that I have graduated, that my presidency left an impact throughout the community, where diversity used to describe solely racial issues, now diversity was inclusive of a huge range of people, black, white, gay, straight, trans, impoverished, and handicapped status.

 

This blog will be used to express my story, my opinions, and as much information about the LGBTQIA community as I can muster.

 

Thank you for reading!

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1 Comment

  1. Glenn

     /  March 20, 2011

    Thank you for doing this. I cannot wait for more.

    Reply

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