He and She Are Just Pronouns - It's the Person That Matters

He and She are Just Pronouns- It’s the Person That Matters

By: Tabatha Pelletier

 

Transgender, a word used by many to describe a person, mostly done in a negative aspect. Transgender isn’t a negative, it isn’t just a word, it is a way for a person to identify. It’s not about how many surgeries occur, it’s not about how a person dresses, it’s about how they feel on the inside. They are mothers and fathers, grandparents, sisters and brothers, neighbors. According to everydayfeminism.com, nearly one million adults in the US alone identify as transgender.

I decided that the best way to learn about the transgender community was to talk with someone who is a part of the community. I spoke with Tadi Betancourt, a trans-guy and all around passionate transgender advocate. Tadi really inspires me and I think what he is doing for the community is amazing so I really wanted to be able to showcase that.

Growing up for Tadi wasn’t easy, especially having the soul of a man in a female’s body, he felt trapped. “My dad to this day still calls me her and my biological mom hasn’t talked to me in over two years,” said Betancourt. He has been disowned by his entire family and is physically and emotionally drained. Financially he works more than 40 hours a week and has put most of his funds into changing his name, his hormones, and is currently saving to have top surgery.

                                  

Tadi posing with one of the many memorable quotes I learned during our time.

                                             Photo courtesy of Tabatha Pelletier 2016

 

Mentally ill, a confused lesbian, just some of the words that Betancourt continues to endure from his peers on a daily basis. “People always assume I use the men’s room because I want to check out guys when in reality I identify as male,” said Betancourt.

Betancourt isn’t the only teen struggling to identify with themselves and the community. Everyday trans teens are bullied and harassed for who they are and are made to feel like they don’t belong. According to dragitout.org, 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of the gender they are while 55% of transgender youth have been attacked physically. It is sad to read statistics such as these and it makes you really consider what kind of world we live in.  

These statistics and being a victim himself are why Betancourt works so hard in his community to prevent this type of violence from consistently occurring. He serves as a youth advocate, working for Trans-central and equality PA. He is also the head of the youth department for the transgender justice, a working group out of equality PA. Betancourt also trains across the state of Pennsylvania for school staffs, medical institutions, businesses, and bars on trans inclusion and gender-neutral bathrooms. He gives the transgender community a voice. A voice that can put aside these stereotypes, a voice to stop the questioning of bathroom choices, a voice to offer courage and hope.

    You can have any name you want, any life you choose. Be who you are and live in the moment. If it’s not easy that means you are working towards your true self, the best you.

    Please visit http://www.transequality.org for more information.