After nearly 30 years of failed attempts in Washington state, the legislature recently passed an anti-discrimination law protecting the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender persons in housing, employment, and lending.
This makes Washington the 17th state to pass such a law, and the seventh to include transgender people in it.
Before the celebratory party began inside the Paramount Theater, Misty Parton shared her thoughts on homelessness and discrimination within the transgender community in Seattle.
Misty Parton, Seattle, 44
I’m 44. I‘m transsexual. I’ve been living fulltime now for 7 years. I hope one day to continue the journey of surgery and so-forth to live a normal happy life, so to speak.
I’ve definitely been discriminated against and it would be my hope that (this law) will (help). Cuz it’s really hard when you’re discriminated whether you’re looking for work or even so much as going to the grocery store. Its really hard…. It’ll help make medical more accessible. Just about every aspect of life will become a little easier.
I’m starting a transgender house for the homeless. The idea behind it is to help the men and women that are transgender that are on the street prostituting, wrapped up in drugs, whatever. Our hope is to get them in some kind of a normal shelter because they are really discriminated against in the shelters that are out there. Where people can get the resources they need and work on their issues and eventually move on to being healthy productive citizens.
It happened a year ago September. I ended up in serious trouble where I was staying and I ended up homeless over it and basically ran in survival mode. You’re not really paying attention to any inner feelings or anything. Everything’s just geared toward ‘get out of the mess’. When you do get a place you just kind of crash. It takes a while to pull yourself back up and say, ‘OK I can take things easier now.’ I can concentrate on one thing at a time. Rather than everything just being daunting.
The name of the project is going to be called ‘The Cocoon Project’. It simplifies what the transgender community does in their transferring, transitioning. Kind of going from, before they start either male or female, and as they transition over its kind of like going from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.
The other problems with shelters is that they’re just not safe. The girls are very easily raped and beaten. The guys , the same thing. Just for being different. So it’s definitely a need.