My name's Cristina and this is my first post on here (hopefully it's not my last). Nice to meet you all!
My questions I want to toss out there are... how Transgender-friendly is Portland in terms of people's general attitudes? Or with employment?
Just to fill you in a bit, I'm 29 and Transgendered. I happily identify as being a woman through and through. It's been nine months since I first came out (but have always known as a long as I can remember). I feel very confident and strong as I progress further in my Transitioning and challenge myself often.
I know it's always dangerous to generalize.... I promise not to hold you to it! :o) To give you an idea of what I mean by those questions, let me answer those questions in terms of Asheville.
Asheville is more a hub than a destination. Because so many people come and go, it's hard to establish a local economy that's based on community-oriented, equal opportunity businesses. A majority of businesses that exist have employees who are incumbents and hold jobs for many years. Other businesses are facing hard times and closing down.
A majority of other employers crash within less than a year. The majority of other jobs are on the outskirts of downtown Asheville where it's extremely conservative. So when you hear, Asheville's "weird" or "liberal"... it truly means the nine blocks that make up downtown, making up less than 7% of Asheville.
When it comes to my own personal experiences of looking for work, I receive a lot of animosity and discomfort from hiring managers. Basically, a lot of things that wouldn't normally fly in cities like Boston, fly happen here. My current employer feels that "I'm a lawsuit waiting to happen" and has extended my new employee probationary period so that I can be let go at any time without question.
With teaching, I have had difficulties in trying to find more employment in education. Despite having been awarded for an exceptional year of teaching and afterschool programming, administrators in more liberal public schools still suffer from ranging degrees of Transphobia.
In terms of general safety and general acceptance levels of Transgendered people....
I generally "pass" (being physically interpreted as the sex I'm trying to portray) and don't encounter as many problems. At the beginning of my Transition, I was assaulted at night. Due to NC's lack of extended hate crime laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity, all I could do was place a restraining order and that's it. As a result, this information does not get recorded officially by the police and gives the appearance that LGBTQ hate crimes don't happen here.
Without a car, it's definitely a dangerous place to be at night or while walking on the main roads.
Also, in the past couple of years, immigrants and LGBTQ folks have seen a significant increase of violence. This information is being compiled by local organizations.
With that said, I want to be able to live somewhere where I can live a lot more at peace. I'm definitely not expecting a utopia in Portland. I've just been ignoring myself for so many years fighting for so many causes here. I have a large presence in community organizing for immigrant and queer rights. A part of me feels like I should stay and fight. My departure would not mean the end of the world, but it would mean that lots of initiatives may be left incomplete. But at the same time, I'm looking to move somewhere where I can heal, grow, make new friends, smile, and let the woman in me experience and have fun.
So, that's me! Thanks for reading my dissertation! Hehe! I'm generally a goofball, seriously!