ADA — Columbus attorney Tara McBride said she wanted everyone in the audience to take one thing with them from her presentation if they did not take anything else.
“Being transgender is not a choice,” McBride said. “I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. This chooses you.”
McBride discussed her personal experiences as a member of the transgender community. She said she made the transition eight years ago, when she was 43. Now 51, she said that she is happier though the transition has came with its bad points. She still has not reconciled with her father, a die-hard Marine. She said it took her mother a year and a half to be able to speak with her without crying and her sister accused her of being selfish.
McBride said she built a fake life, doing everything she was expected to do as a man. She got married and fathered three children. Two are grown from her first marriage and another, who is 12 years old and living with her mother in Tennessee from a second marriage. McBride is now married again, to a woman.
“I was living for everyone else,” McBride said. “I was living behind this wall of macho that I had erected.”
McBride said she reached her breaking point when she contemplated taking her own life. She blacked out and later woke up.
“I told myself, either I finish what I started or I do what I need to do and let the chips fall where they may,” McBride said.
McBride said when she says that she is transgender, the most common question asked is “do you like boys or girls?” She said this is a question that should not be identified with being transgender.
“Gender identity and sexual preference are not the same thing,” McBride said. “People need to realize that sexuality varies within the transgender community just like in the general population.
McBride has spoke at several different venues, including Annapolis, where she graduated from and became a commissioned Naval officer. She said she has one simple point she is trying to make.
“I need allies,” McBride said. “There is a 1.6 percent rate of people who have tried suicide among the population. Among transgenders, it is 42 percent. That is how scary this is. Now I have changed the outside to match what was always between the ears. That is what this is all about.”