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Donna
Aylett, VA

Donna is a reverend, a motorcyclist, and a retired former police officer, detective, and licensed master electrician. She is also a transgender woman.

As a child, Donna knew she was different, but there wasn’t a lot of information or terminology in the ‘50s and ‘60’s to help her understand herself. She grew up to lead a full life, including serving in the army for 22 years as a cavalry scout. But something wasn’t right. A few years ago, Donna survived a near-death experience and had a moment of clarity: she needed to live her life to the fullest and be herself. Donna came out as transgender, and is happier than she’s ever been. 

“I feel a responsibility to my community to help us get to equal footing,” she said. “I recognize that I’m fortunate because I’m retired and I live with my loving, supportive wife in our home. Young trans folks who are just starting their lives don’t have security in finding jobs or homes. Older trans people may lose their jobs for coming out or struggle to find housing if they separate from a partner. Every one of us has to consider what we would do if a restaurant owner kicked us out or a retail manager told us we aren’t welcome. There is no safety net for us. We need nondiscrimination protections in housing, public accommodations, and employment because they genuinely keep us safe.”

Read More Stories By:  Equality Virginia

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