Atlantan highlighted in GLAAD campaign boosting transgender visibility

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Southern Story Bank offers a glimpse into the lives of six LGBTQ Southerners

Quinton Reynolds got his first taste of advocacy work by leading a support group to help himself and other transgender men navigate life in prison.

When Reynolds struggled to change his name and secure identification, find gender-affirming care and access other things he needed to get acclimated back into society upon his release, he realized there was a lack of spaces that catered to the health and wellness of people who identify as trans masculine.

“One of the worst feelings I’ve experienced was facing discrimination because my ID did not reflect who I was,” Reynolds said.

Those adversities planted the seeds for his organization Game Changing Men to blossom into a community that helps eliminate societal barriers for trans men.

In Southern Story Bank, a new video series curated by the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD that highlights trans Southerners, Reynolds shared why he created a healing space for trans men to explore manhood while learning how to be their authentic selves.

“Society dehumanizes us a lot, so it was important for me to provide a community for trans masculine identities to be vulnerable and shift their mindset of what it means to be a man,” said the founder and executive director of Game Changing Men.

The Southern Story Bank offers a glimpse into the lives of six LGBTQ Southerners who challenge the status quo in their communities by fighting discriminatory policies, expanding HIV awareness and showing others how to live an unapologetic lifestyle.

The series launched ahead of International Day of Transgender Visibility, an annual celebration held on March 31 that honors the lives of transgender and nonbinary people.

Raquel Willis, a GLAAD reporter and producer on the project, hopes the videos will show how LGBTQ people have consistently carved out spaces for healing and joy and help people understand the wholeness of their lives and experiences.

“One thing that is important with covering Southern LGBTQ stories is that oftentimes the South is where a lot of the anti-LGBTQ legislation is happening and there tends to be a gap of understanding in that region,” Willis said.

The storytelling initiative was released as legislation targeting transgender Americans sweeps across the country. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill last week that limits treatment to transgender minors.

“These policies are damaging to trans youth who are already having a hard time,” Reynolds said. “We trust these people to represent us, but the false narratives they present to the public are damaging and cause safety concerns.”