Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
About 50 people showed up Sept. 21 for the launch of Who’s That Girl, a media project presented by the Horizons Project and supported by the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Health Disparities Reduction Minority Health Section. The project, which includes images of four young transgender women, is a marketing effort to change media and societal perceptions of the transgender community.
“The purpose of the campaign is to provide understanding about HIV, especially in the trans community,” said Bre’ Campbell, the project’s coordinator. “A lot of times, when AIDS messages are put out they do not include trans women.”
All of the women featured in the campaign are under the age of 25 and active in the community. Campbell said they illustrate that “regardless of what society thinks about trans women, they are smart, they are successful, they are educated and they are loved.”
The Horizons Project launched the campaign at a reception at Wayne State University’s Student Center. About 50 people attended, and after they ate and had an opportunity to view the images, they were witness to a very informative panel discussion featuring the four women who comprise the campaign.
“If you look at the photos, it shows that even though we are in some ways different, we are still human and can still blend in,” said Sahray Arnold. “Even though we’re not all the same, we’re all the same inside and we’re all of value.”
Mia Cole said she believes society at large is misinformed about trans women and only knows what they see on trash TV.
“Everyone thinks transgender women are what you see on Jerry Springer and that’s not it,” she said. “We don’t walk down the street snatching our wigs off. We’re very smart and intelligent. You shouldn’t reject the unfamiliar because we have a lot to offer.”
A fashion model and harpist, WSU student Ahya Simone said she hopes to help change society’s perception of trans women.
“I take joy in educating people about women like me,” Simone said. “There are few [images] out there and I want to be that face. I just want to be a role model for girls like us, and women in general.”
Not all discrimination comes from outside sources, though. The women all shared that they were often marginalized by others in the LGBT community.
“The ‘T’ is in there,” said Krystina Edwards. “So I’m gonna need the L, the G, and the B to embrace us.”
The images in the campaign were all shot by photographer Jhordan Haliburton.
“At first I was kind of nervous about it because it was my first professional photo shoot,” he said. “But they came out great. I love them. They came out very wonderful.”
Look for images from the campaign to appear in the pages of Between The Lines soon.