November 20th marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance to honor the lives and memories of transgender individuals whose lives were lost due to acts of anti-transgender violence. In the week leading up to that day, people around the globe participate in and celebrate Transgender Awareness Week, bringing visibility to the issues the community faces. This week we’re uplifting the voices and stories from a few of our transgender participants as they share memories of joy, pain, and lots of love all around.
“I Was Going To Have A Family Again”
Elizabeth Coffey-Williams was in her early 20s when she told her family that she was transgender. She sat down for a StoryCorps interview with her niece, Jennifer Coffey, to reflect on that journey. Read the full transcript here.
The Door She Opened
At the age of 63, Dee Westenhauser came out as a transgender woman. She remembers growing up in El Paso, Texas in the 1950s, and the one person who made her feel like herself. Read the full transcript here.
We’re Still Here
In this podcast episode, hear from those who have frequently been the first to stand up for equality — but are typically the last to be recognized for their contributions. In the LGBTQ community, those are often the voices of trans women of color. Read the full transcript here.
A Road Trip And Lost Time
For almost 30 years, T. Chick McClure and their dad, Chas McClure, were estranged. Shortly after they reconnected, Chas invited Chick on a 2-week road trip through the Southwest. Read the full transcript here.
Alexis Martinez and Lesley Martinez Etherly
Growing up in the 1960s in a housing project on the South Side of Chicago, Alexis Martinez knew that she had to hide from others that she is transgender. At StoryCorps, Alexis speaks with her daughter, Lesley Martinez Etherly, about her childhood. Read the full transcript here.
“It’s Like A Part Of My Heart Is Gone”
Warning: The following story recalls violence and murder. Angie Zapata, a transgender woman in Colorado, was killed in 2008 by a person she was dating. Angie’s family came to StoryCorps to memorialize her. Read the full transcript here.
Meet Them Where They Are
For some kids, the saying “just be yourself” can be a scary proposition. In this podcast episode, hear from an Arizona family helping their 9-year-old transgender son do just that. Read the full transcript here.
A Family Transition
In 1997, Les and Scott GrantSmiths’ marriage was on the rocks. They had been together for ten years and were raising two children. But Les was hiding something: although he was born female, he felt like a man in the wrong body. Read the full transcript here.
Love Lost, And Found
Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed are best friends and Vietnam-era veterans. Although they didn’t serve in the war together, they share a story of courage — on and off the battlefield. Read the full transcript here.