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Cheryl
Gig Harbor, WA

A decade ago, Cheryl’s life sounded fantastic on paper but, she said, bubbling under the surface was turmoil. Cheryl was married and working as a project manager for a construction company, taking on everything from managing complex contracts to dealing with office staff, field crews and owners. The work itself was fun and interesting, but Cheryl always felt the need to throw herself into physical activity, training endlessly for marathons and long distance cycling races to deal with the high pressure of the job and, critically, the stressors of hiding the realities of her gender identity. “It was on a 17-mile bike ride from Port Angeles up to Hurricane Ridge where I finally faced my unseen truth,” Cheryl said, explaining, “Even though I had been identified as a man, I knew I was a woman.”

Cheryl ultimately transitioned and now lives every day as the woman she has long known herself to be, but it wasn’t always easy. “Transitioning wasn’t easy, and some days, being transgender isn’t easy,” Cheryl said. “Transgender people are still more likely to face discrimination and even face violence because of who we are.” Thankfully, where Cheryl lives in Washington, transgender people are explicitly protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces under state law. “In the rare instance that I do have a bad day, it makes me feel empowered to know that the law is on my side,” she said. “And not only do these laws protect me, they send a powerful message that transgender people are valued members of society—that we matter, just as much as any other Washingtonian.”

Read More Stories By:  TRANSform Washington

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