Blair Durkee has a PhD from Clemson University in computer science, and plans eventually to work for a software development company. She is happy, with a close group of friends and a spot on the leadership team of a regionally based activist network of transgender and queer people called the Gender Benders. Her family is increasingly coming to understand that she is a transgender woman and is actively living her life as the woman she’s always known herself to be. Blair also knows that discrimination protections are essential for transgender people like herself.
“There’s something deep-seated about not knowing who you are inside, especially when you’ve grown up your entire life being told who you are, who to be,” Blair said. “It was kind of mind-blowing to think that I had never been able to live my own life without someone telling me who to be until I was 22 years old. If we had the protections we need, it’s basically like we get to participate in all of society and not just our underground network of LGBTQ-friendly places.”