Trans Realities in Ohio, Defending Our Joy

Meet Avery: : a Recent Ph.D. grad and dog Dad who is researching and advocating for mental health services for Trans and gender diverse youth.

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

It’s okay to say/do whatever you need to avoid being overwhelmed by misinformed and hateful rhetoric—whether it’s unplugging, saying “I don’t want to talk about that right now,” setting boundaries, sharing your feelings, asking for help or anything else. 

You know you better than anyone else ever will. Who you are is worthy.

Think back to when you first began your journey. What resource do you most wish you had access to back then? Moving forward, what do you still need?

I wish I had trans folks to look up to as a younger person. Not only to see that trans people exist but also, to see that trans people can and do thrive. 

Moving forward, I hope to continue to find trans social communities and intentionally trans-inclusive social communities.

This means attending demonstrations, contacting representatives, supporting organizations and businesses that defend equality, and having tough, necessary conversations with friends and family to broaden their perspectives.

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

Honestly, the moments that impact me the most these days are when people acknowledge the severity of hateful messaging out there and the implications of that in politics, in schools, in healthcare, in sports, in our everyday lives… and genuinely and compassionately ask, “how are you doing?” 

Acknowledgement, when paired with sentiments of validation and care, mean the world.

What does Pride mean to you this year? 

Pride means knowing my worth above and beyond anyone else’s appraisal of my worth. 

Pride means not always feeling obligated to accommodate others’ comfort or ego above my own safety and integrity.

What brings you joy?

I find joy this season in graduating with my PhD. I am now able to begin a career centered on research and advocacy for trans and gender diverse youth mental health. 

I also find joy in being a dog dad to the silliest and sweetest pup and feeling the love of a church community committed to social justice.


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.