Trystan Cotten, the transgender founder of indie publisher Transgress Press, is spending the summer pedaling 4,200 miles across America to raise awareness of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. He's raising funds for Stand Up Placer, a Northern California organization that helps turn victims into survivors.
"I teach about gender-based violence as a professor," Cotten says about why he felt compelled to take action for the cause. "It's a part of my work. But last year I became sickened and disgusted by the news reports of rape and sexual assault exemplified by the allegations against Bill Cosby, the outcome of the Stanford rape conviction, and the election of a president who openly brags of assaulting women."
Feeling "saturated by misogyny," Cotten says he was "spurred to do something personal, and on a broader activist scale." But, he admits, he also wanted to break out of the classroom and see how communities across the U.S. are dealing with violence against women and LGBT folks.
"I'm stopping at agencies and safe houses on my route to learn more about the issues they're dealing with locally," Cotten explains. "This gender-based violence is a worldwide epidemic and the single-most threat to humanity."
You can empower survivors to change their lives by donating to StandUpPlacer.org or your own local providers. Follow Cotten (and his journey) on Facebook at bit.ly/TrystnFB.