Trans Realities in Ohio, Defending Our Joy

Meet Ares: member of one of our personal favorite organizations, Black Transmen of Ohio.

What’s one piece of advice you would currently give other Transgender folks?

One piece of advice that I would give my Trans brothers and sisters is to get political.  The only way forward for us is through so we have to initiate the changes in our societies that we want to see. If we don’t vote and advocate for ourselves, then who will? All we have is us and it’s time for us to stand up for ourselves and stop being afraid.

Think back to when you first began your journey. What resource do you most wish you had access to back then?

At the beginning of my transition the one resource I wish was more available was information.  Both about and explaining what being Transgender is.  I struggled for a very long time simply because I didn’t understand or know what I was or what it meant.  Nor did I know there was treatment available to affirm my gender identity.  Finding out was extremely difficult simply because of the lack of information.

Moving forward, what do you still need?

I still need gender affirming surgical procedures done but I honestly would like to see more research done in that area in particular.  There are some gender affirming surgeries I am avoiding because of the possible negative outcomes.  This means I’m at a stand still once I’ve made it to a certain point so I’d like to see more diligence in the research surrounding those procedures to help enhance them to give transgender individuals a better and more fulfilling quality of life post affirmation.

Has there been a meaningful moment of support that has stuck with you?

Pride to me this year means refusing to go backward.  It’s almost as if some groups of people in our society wish to turn back time and take away our rights. Time doesn’t move backward. We aren’t going backward.  This is our country too and I fought for it.  That’s what I put on the uniform for. 

What brings you joy?

For me the most meaningful moment of support came from my mother.  She asked if she could have the honor of naming me herself when I was ready. It was in that moment that I knew she supported and accepted me fully & completely as her son and was the happiest moment I had with my mother.

What does Pride mean to you this year? 

One thing that brings me joy is seeing people be happy.  I have fought with MDD most of my adult life so I truly understand what the absence of joy feels like. That’s why I love helping people, spreading joy, and giving of myself.  I believe that smiling is the most beautiful form that a human face can be in and happiness is a thing that can be fleeting.  So I try to put out as much joy as I can because honestly it could save a person’s life.  We don’t know what other people go through so that little nudge could be the one thing that stops a person from hurting themselves or others.  A lot of the time people just need someone to show up.


Over the course of June, The Defenders of Equality are bringing you stories from Trans folks across the state of Ohio about the joys and very real struggles they are experiencing, often at once. We invite you this Pride season to hold space for these realities in the Trans community, both good and bad.

As you sit with these stories, consider contributing to the continued fight for our Trans community, by joining the Defenders of Equality. Our Trans siblings deserve our support, today and everyday. 

Our very own superhero mascot, The Lavender Legend is a proud member of the Trans community! The Gay Guardian and Captain Carnation are excited to support their friend this Pride season (and beyond).

Make a move to fund the continued fight for our community members, like Eileen, by joining the Defenders of Equality. With rates as diverse as our community, we hope you will be able to find the one that works for you.