With the recent media attention and public support surrounding transgender male models such as Ben Melzer and Aydian Dowling, one might think that broad acceptance of all trans people is inevitable. However, even within the so-called LGBT community, prejudice against trans and gender-nonconforming people still arises, as a recent petition to LGBT media and advocacy groups asking them to “Drop the T” illustrates.
This tension was the topic of discussion for Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the marriage equality suit that resulted in the freedom to marry nationwide, and Andreja Pejic, the world’s most famous trans model, as they sat down for an interview with Amanda Silverman of Foreign Policy.
Pejic was adamant about the impact that sharing one's own story can have. “It can change public opinion, maybe can’t change policy, but it can change public opinion,” Pejic told Foreign Policy. She went on to say:
“And I do think with Transgender people, we can change public opinion. I do believe in people and I feel, I do believe they can overcome their prejudices. However, you know, the problem is bigger than just acceptance. The problem is a lack of jobs in the transgender community. I don’t know about the LGBT community, especially with homelessness, access to medical care, education. But you know, as I said, I think these things are declining for the majority of the population. So, that’s where I think people do need to unite and we need a mass movement.”
Obergefell similarly believes that LGBT people being open about who they are has been “the driver of the change we’ve seen.”
“That’s how we change hearts and minds, is by simply telling out stories and letting people realize we are all the same,” he added.
With a positive outlook on the entire issue, both discussed the importance of youth engagement, ruminated on the implications of posting on social media, and ultimately acknowledged that “we’re all just human beings.”
Listen to the full podcast here.