Trans(forming) AFAB Lives with Quinton Reynolds
In Episode 19, Erin Everett, NP-C, welcomes Quinton Reynolds, the Lead Organizer of Trans(forming), an Atlanta non-profit organization for members of the AFAB (assigned female at birth) community. During the episode, the two discuss Trans(forming)’s mission to help serve AFAB individuals who are intersex, trans masculine, gender nonconforming and/or non-binary.
About This Episode
Episode 19 Transcript
Trans(forming) AFAB Lives with Quinton Reynolds
Erin Everett: All right. Well, welcome to the show Quinton. We’re happy to have you on here. Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.
Quinton Reynolds: Hi, and thanks for having me again. My name is Quinton Reynolds, pro nouns he, him, he is. I’m the lead organizer for Trans(forming), which is a nonprofit organization for AFAB individuals. We have services and our demographic is AFAB individuals that are intersex, trans man, gender nonconforming and or non binary individuals assigned female at birth. I’ve been working for the organization about three and a half years. We are located in Metro Atlanta, but we have collaborations and other organizations national that we work with and do collaborations with.
Erin Everett: That’s awesome. I didn’t realize you guys were so heavily networked. I knew you were working in Atlanta, but I didn’t know you were networked with outside organizations, so that’s really cool.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah, we’re actually a part of a coalition called Black Girls Rule and it is probably about over 30 organizations. There’s a part of their coalition and we usually meet yearly suggest catch up and debrief on what each organization is doing and to just stay linked and connected to each other.
Erin Everett: Oh, wow. That’s really cool. You told us a little bit about Trans(forming) and your role with Trans(forming), but I know you guys are working on some specific projects. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the projects that you guys are working on right now?
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah, of course. One of the main projects we’re working on right now is our HIV, sexual health project. It’s focused on AFAB individuals, but we are opening it to a broad scope of gender diverse individuals. The project specifically is to bring awareness around sexual health in AFAB individuals, de-stigmatizing HIV and gender diverse people, and de-stigmatizing negative characteristics for AFAB people when it comes to sexual health. It kind of teaches around intersectionality also to bring out why it’s so stigmatized for specifically more masculine centered trans men and trans masculine represent folks why it’s so negative and-
Erin Everett: Why do you think that is?
Quinton Reynolds: Well, what I’ve learned, it’s about masculinity and people when it comes to masculinity they feel like if it’s not associated with the gender identity that they present or what the gender identity that they are, that it-
Erin Everett: Like it doesn’t exist almost.
Quinton Reynolds: It doesn’t exist and it’s kind of disassociates or invalidates that gender identity.
Erin Everett: Yeah. Yeah. I would agree with that. I think, unless you’re really working in the field, we can sometimes get caught up in our little bubbles and so it’s really refreshing and really grounding to hear you say that because I’m sitting here thinking, Oh yeah, but doesn’t everybody ask about sexual health with AFABs. No, they don’t. I often when I’m onboarding a new patient and we’re getting ready to start HRT and they’re AFAB, I also mentioned just simple things like, just because you’re not no longer menstruating or won’t be menstruating anymore, it doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. They kind of look at me like I have four heads like, Oh, first of all, I never planned on having sex with anyone with a phallus.
Erin Everett: Well, that’s your plan now, but things change and you need to be armed with the information so that you can make safe, healthy decisions, but it’s like they don’t even think about that because to your point, they have disassociated from their internal organs and then once they become more masculine, it’s even more disassociating. It’s like that part doesn’t exist. They don’t want to think about it. They don’t want to talk about it, but then again, some people do and they have a great healthy relationship with those organs so it’s really interesting. I think that this project is so important.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. It’s also to get people to be comfortable in their bodies just to let them know that it’s okay however you like to have sex to just really be honest about it, to protect yourself and to best learn and get the knowledge that we need, because it’s not a lot of information out there for AFAB individuals, especially for those who have receptive sex or who have sex with trans women or non binary, AMAL folks, or cis men. It’s not a lot of information out there for sexual health, for AFAB individuals. That’s a lot of things that we were having conversations with individuals to get to figure out what the root of it is. Then a lot of times when we go into provider’s office, I know I’ve been to you all’s practice. I’m a patient of you all’s, but a lot of individuals that I’m talking to, doctors don’t ask them these type of questions that surround sexual health.
Quinton Reynolds: Most of the time they assume a lot of trans masculine or trans men or assumed to be, they have this stereotype when they go inside of the office. A lot of the providers assume that pretty much that they’re still lesbians, right? That’s problematic, so they already think that, okay, this trans man or trans masculine person is automatically assumed to be in a relationship or having sexual relations with a CIS woman and it totally disregards their identity. I think a lot of times some providers aren’t really educated on the information about trans individuals and they associate gender identity with sexual orientation still.
Erin Everett: Yeah. You’re so right. That is such a battle that we have to fight because those two are so separate from each other and then I also try and tell my patients too, when I’m talking about this stuff is that sometimes sexual preference changes when you incorporate hormones. That’s why I try to speak very broadly about sexual health and not make any assumptions, but I think it’s so important what you guys are doing, going into other provider offices, because what we do shouldn’t be special. It shouldn’t be unique and it shouldn’t be something that people come to us so that they can get that comprehensive care and I think that’s what so many heteronormative cis people take for granted is that they can walk into a provider’s office and they’re provided with the questions that they need to stay healthy.
Erin Everett: Whereas other people in the gender diverse community, either gender queer, sexually queer, all the different sexual preferences and whatnot, they can’t just walk into an office and know that their provider’s going to ask them questions pertinent to their own health and so educating those providers and those primary care practices is going to be… That’s going to be hard, but it’s so important.
Quinton Reynolds: Yes, it is important, especially when the rates of HIV transmission in the trans community is so high, also when STIs not just HIV and we don’t really have any research we’ve done on us and we don’t really know how hormones affect. I do know that it affects the lining of the vaginal canal, but a lot of individuals don’t know that and if you’re having receptive sex, that puts you at more risk for transmission. These are just some of the things that we try to let individuals know, and like you said, sometimes sexual fluidity and sexual orientation changes during transition or hormone therapy and sometimes it might not just be the hormones. Maybe you might be with a partner that you try different things or you experience within…
Quinton Reynolds: Really, I think transition is a part of really getting to know who you really are because before you didn’t really know-
Erin Everett: You weren’t living your truth.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah, so you weren’t really comfortable at all and you might not still be comfortable all the way within transition, but it’s like a re-identity. You are getting to know yourself and what you like and what you don’t like.
Erin Everett: That’s what I think it is. I don’t necessarily think is the hormones changing it, but I think it’s that medical transition and the developing those secondary sex characteristics that match how you’ve always felt and kind of falling into your true self and living an authentic self. Living your truth, speaking your truth. Then it allows you to grow as a person and explore what else is true about me. That’s what I think it is. I don’t think it’s necessarily like the chemicals and the hormones and that type of thing, but I think you’re 100% right. It’s just about evolving as a person. One of the things that you touched on that I was going to expand on real quick, because my health provider mode kicked in for a second.
Erin Everett: When you’re talking about STDs and the impact of hormones on sexually transmitted infections, you’re 1000% right with how the lack of estrogen can make those tissues more fryable and more susceptible to small cuts and tears from just regular friction and so one way that people can combat that too, is making sure they’re using a lot of lubricants. When we’re talking about STDs in that regard too, we’re talking about trichomonas, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and when your colleagues and your friends in your network are going to see their providers, what they need to be doing is getting vaginal swabs for those, because sometimes it can be picked up on urine if you’re engaging in oral sex, but if you’re having penetrative intercourse, even with toys, and if you’re sharing toys, then doing a vaginal swab is going to pick up on those infections that are closer to the cervix.
Erin Everett: Bacterial vaginosis is something that people forget about too. Often I have a lot of patients coming in complaining thinking that their cycle is coming back or they’re having painful orgasms with some spotting and bleeding. I tend to ask them while you’re having outside of that, either a thin watery discharge, gray discharge can be odorous or not. Is the discharge that you’re experiencing pink in nature causing you to wear a liner and a lot of people report, yes. Well, when I treat them for bacterial vaginosis with just some topical gels or an oral medication depending on their comfort level, that goes away. That can actually be considered an STD because depending on who you’re sexually active with, it can be passed back and forth, even though it’s considered normal bacteria when the pH of that area changes because the lack of estrogen, the normal bacteria, overgrows causes run of the mill infections that aren’t harmful, but they’re inconvenient. They can cause painful orgasms. Just wanted to throw that in there.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. That’s good. A lot of providers don’t have, or give out that information to trans individuals and a lot of times it’s an uncomfortable topic even with the provider that’s knowledgeable about it.
Erin Everett: Yeah. Do you think the uncomfortable… Who’s most uncomfortable about it? Do you think it’s the patient or the provider?
Quinton Reynolds: Sometimes I can say it could be the patient, but sometimes if you don’t have a competent doctor, then I wouldn’t be comfortable going and have a conversation with a doctor that didn’t really know what they were talking about.
Erin Everett: Yeah. Yeah. When you say competent, you mean in transgender medicine and the gender diverse community?
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. Having cultural company training and knowledgeable on it, not just having a training and keeping up to date with the information, but a lot of doctors… Before I found you all I went to a provider’s office and they were totally not competent around transgender identity and they really didn’t have much knowledge on it. I ended up finding you all, thank God.
Erin Everett: We’re glad you found us too.
Quinton Reynolds: Yes. I refer a lot of individuals to you all, just because I know it’s hard to find a provider that you can be comfortable with and has knowledge on the transgender community.
Erin Everett: It is difficult. That’s why I think your sexual health project is so important because again, the sexual health needs of AFAB and non-binary, nonconforming individuals can be totally overlooked at other clinics. One question I had for you about that too, when you’re going into these practices and trying to provide competency training, are you guys talking about TRUVADA for PrEP?
Quinton Reynolds: We haven’t exclusively started talking about PrEP. We do talk about prevention methods, but there has been a thing that we have been talking about not just exclusively TRUVADA, but the inclusion for the other PrEP.
Erin Everett: Preventative measures.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. Descovy. Yeah. That’s a lot of stuff that we’ve been having with the conversation we’ve been having within the community. Not so much as providers. When we go to… We do ask if they prescribe PrEP or what their procedures are for prescribing PrEP for trans masculine, trans men individuals, and really we’ve been discussing intake process and how this intake is done? Who does the intake? How’s the intake worded? After the intake is done, what are they doing afterwards to follow up when they go in the back with the provider? I will say that some of the providers are saying that after the intake is done, if the PrEP is needed or the questions that they answer, they will prescribe the PrEP.
Quinton Reynolds: We’ve also been doing conversations within the community around intake and around experiences that have happened when they go into a provider’s office. A lot of the times individuals or what it will stop the individual from going into the provider’s office or being honest at the provider’s office is how they’re treated during the intake process and how things are worded during the intake process. A lot of the times doctors will say they’re cultural competent or providers to say that and a lot of times it’s not the provider that’s the issue, it’s the intake process and the people at the front desk that they have issues with.
Quinton Reynolds: I had an issue with the gynecologist that I was going to, it was never an issue when I went in with him, it was always the front desk issue. To me that is one of the most uncomfortable situations to be in, especially when it’s a more the minority or it’s generally for cis women, the atmosphere is so they’re in the environment, so when you’re in that you’re already uncomfortable. Before I went there, I had issue over the phone because they like, Oh, are you calling for your girlfriend? I’m like, I had to explain, but then when I went in, I had already talked to the same individual was there and I was still misgendered when I got there.
Erin Everett: That’s brutal.
Quinton Reynolds: Yes. It’s a double edged sword kind of. That deters a lot of individuals from even going to have, especially to a gynecologist that really deters individuals. That’s been a major focus of what we have been looking for. A lot of clinics will prescribe the PrEP, TRUVADA too. Sometimes I’ve heard some people have had to lie because they’ve said that the pretty much the doctor or the provider was saying that they weren’t at risk.
Erin Everett: What?
Quinton Reynolds: Yes. That’s some of the issues that is problematic, overlooked, most of the time and excluded from stuff.
Erin Everett: Pretty much if anybody’s asking me about PrEP, they’re at risk and probably need to be on it. I’m like interviewing people and asking them about their sexual practices and I try to be very upfront and open with them. I’m not being nosy. I’m just trying to like tailor your sexual health needs to you as an individual. I’m not being judgmental. I’m not just being like, Hey, what kind of people are you having sex with because I’m nosy. I want to make sure that I’m addressing your sexual health needs and I understand that everybody’s approach is different, but so in that every new patient that walks through my door gets that interview and we actually have a sexual health screening where they can fill out if they’re interested in HIV prevention or not.
Erin Everett: A lot of people are not interested, but I’ve also looked at the type of sex that they’re having and then I say well, I know you marked that you’re not interested, but I just want to briefly tell you about it in case your lifestyle habits change or whatever. I want you to have that information and know that you can come back and we can have a more detailed discussion about it because what’s relevant to you now may not be relevant in three years. That’s also important, but so if a patient was to ask me about PrEP and for whatever reason that interview hadn’t occurred or whatever, if I wasn’t the provider that saw them as the new patient or whatnot, I’m already like, okay, well, they obviously know enough to know about PrEP so they’re engaging in some sort of activity that puts them at risk for contracting HIV for the most part.
Erin Everett: Again, this is a blanket statement, but for the most part TRUVADA for PrEP or Descovy for PrEP, is extremely safe medication and prescribing it is not going to hurt them. Both drugs are a component of HIV treatment, not on a complete regimen, but it’s part of it. I explain to patients who are like, well, I just don’t know if I want to take a pill every day for the one or two times a month that I might have risky sex. It’s like, well, should you contract HIV, you’re also looking at taking medication every day, but it’s a more comprehensive regimen. I always kind of advocate for prevention, but yeah, I mean to have someone ask about PrEP and then be told by their provider that they’re not at risk is like mind blowing to me.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. That’s a struggle that a lot of AFAB individuals that do have risk behaviors go through. I’ve had conversations, I think that transmission rate in HIV have gone up because lately the more disclosure and the more visibility that trans men have and AFAB individuals have, I’ve been on social media and it’s kind of like object now. It’s more like a lot of people were saying, Oh, I want me one of those. I’ve had discussions with trans women and they say it comes with the visibility they’ve been visible, more so because I think trans men or what I don’t really like using the term passibility, but a lot of the times we do have that privilege to blend into the cis society and it could be good and it could be bad at the same time.
Quinton Reynolds: The lack of visibility has provided less resource and knowledge for us. With the visibility now, it’s kind of like now that we have all this visibility, people know about us, and they’re starting to learn about us, we’re starting to be objectified. I’ve had this conversation that it’s the thing that they have went through now. It’s what trans man or trans masculine, AFAB individuals are going through now with the objectivity like, Oh, I want me one of those and it’s kind of like, you’re not really a person. We’re going to de-humanize you, but we want to try it out because it’s the new thing and with that, it’s a lot of now trans men and trans masculine AFAB or AFAB non-binary people that are in relationships with trans women or cis men or having not just relationships that have sexual encounters with them.
Erin Everett: Yeah. I think you’re completely right. It’s like a double edged sword. You want to be able to sometimes fly under the radar and just live your normal life and not always have your gender identity be what’s guiding you, but at the same time, to your point, without being visible and talking about your AFAB status, then you’re also doing a disservice a little bit to your actual sexual health needs. Well, I think that’s really great that project that you’re doing. How are you guys reaching out to different clinics and finding which ones are needing this kind of education?
Quinton Reynolds: In the process of updating our resource guide, we did a resource guide. I think it was done… Well, it was done before I started working for the organization, but don’t quote me on this. I think it was done in 2017. We’re updating that and in the process of updating it, we are having calling these providers’ office and asking them the services that they provide. Asking also if they have been trained and if they have been trained, when was the last time they’d been trained? Kind of asking around what services they provide. Do they have any trans specific services and then we’re offering to have trainings if depending on answers.
Quinton Reynolds: I also have created a survey that we’ll be sending out to providers. This is the part two of our survey that I did. The part, one of the survey was for specifically for AFAB individuals, just to get some data around sexual health for us and see their interactions with providers, if they’re HIV positive or just kind of get a feel for what’s going on in the community on a broader scope, besides just the individuals that are within the organization and our members, but also to… The part two is to send out these surveys to providers and it’s just to see how they feel about having the conversation. If they feel comfortable with having the conversation around sexual health, a dialogue, have they had training, have their office staff had training, was it mandatory, those types of questions.
Erin Everett: Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. You’re really taking over the hard part for potential new patients of that whole vetting out and making sure it’s a safe space.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. On the resource guide, we will have only people that have been vetted by the organization. We’re not just doing it ourself, the resource guide, we’re doing it also with the Gender which is a trans woman led organization. We are both doing it together and it’s also to come out of this process will also be kind of like a provider’s manual around trans identity to give them some ideas how to have a discussion with a trans individual when it comes to sexual health and how to speak about body parts. We also refer to like the best practice is just to ask them.
Erin Everett: Right. Yeah. What is their preferred word for it? Yeah.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. All of this came out of the project and it’s really expanded into this big… It’s way bigger than we envisioned it to be, but it’s much needed.
Erin Everett: Yeah, it’s really exciting. I can’t wait for that resource guide because as a provider myself, I try to vet out everybody that I refer to and I always tell my patients should you get there and your experience is different from what I expect it to be or what I thought it should be in my vetting process, please let me know because I don’t want to be sending people into the war zone. It’s really hard with specialists because you find them, but then like you said, their front stuff changes and then they didn’t get the education that the previous front staff had or whatnot and so sometimes it’s really challenging I don’t always have the time I would love to dedicate to vetting out other specialties, but particularly finding inclusive gynecologists is very challenging. Like you said, it’s a very female dominated space.
Erin Everett: It’s a lot of pink gowns. It’s a lot of very feminine decorations and so I really try and find people who are specialized in that, that also do other things too, so that there are other reasons why men would be in the waiting room so people to feel less outed just even sitting in that space because it is such a challenge. When you have that resource guide and because right now I only have a couple of resources in that regard in my back pocket, so I would love to be able to help out with that and utilize that guide as well.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. We actually still have the old version online, if you look it up it is a… If you look up Georgia transgender resource guide, in this online PDF style and we will be updating and we’re hoping to roll out the new updated resource guide in the beginning of next year.
Erin Everett: Oh, perfect. Yes. I have seen that guide before. Yes, that’s awesome. I’ll make sure I list that in our podcast episode summary, and then any other additional resources you want me to list, I’ll do that as well so that people who are listening have that access to information. That’s so cool also as part of the sexual health and HIV, we kind of briefly touched on it too, are you also kind of addressing the lack of pregnancy prevention that’s being offered to AFABs?
Quinton Reynolds: Yes, actually we asked those questions in our survey also, but we are also in the provider’s manual. What we hope to come out of both of these surveys is a broader survey that kind of brings more information and knowledge about trans individuals so we can not only get more knowledge, but also to provide resources or to be included in when they’re having these big research studies on individuals so we can be included in that. A lot of the times trans women are included in these research studies, but the most of the time when they included they’re linked in with men who used to have sex with men. To me, that’s problematic, but they do have generally more resources. They’re AFAB individuals, so a lot of this, what we’re doing is to try to bring those resources upfront.
Quinton Reynolds: Then to also the second part is to get providers to acknowledge that there is a need to have the services like pregnancy prevention or HIV prevention, but inside the manual that we have for providers that it’s almost done, it does have information around pregnancy and things to ask individuals when it comes to that. Like if they’re having receptive sex or what we ask is if they have a partner or if they have sex with somebody that produces sperm. Those are some of the things that we have for the provider to ask. That way they can kind of know and they’re not wording things wrong, like saying, are you having sex with somebody that has a penis? That can be sometimes traumatic to some individuals. Just teaching them how to word things, to try to make the individual more comfortable. That way if the individual is more comfortable, they’ll be more honest I feel.
Erin Everett: Yeah, I agree. I agree. That’s awesome. Well, we look forward to the publication of that and we’ll definitely be able to disperse it and help out with that in any way. You have another really interesting project that I feel like we should talk about.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. The other project, we have probably about seven projects, but the other projects….
Erin Everett: I know, you have a lot of projects it’s really exciting to go through them all. I think this one that we mentioned talking about is so important right now.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. With the climate and everything that’s going on, I actually started this project before the movement that has been going on with Black Lives Matter movement and the racial tensions that’s been going on. I actually started this project Trans Stopping Violence project about a year ago. The project came out of… I actually did a training with Men Stopping Violence, and it’s an organization that is based here in Atlanta also and they particularly focus on prevention pretty much around violence against women, so I took the training and I’ve seen the educational approach they take is really beneficial to get an individual to realize or to have empathy or to gain knowledge around systematic views of systematic oppressions and how it could benefit what’s happening with the trans community.
Quinton Reynolds: I came up with this project Trans Stopping Violence. It came just to stop the violence that happening towards trans women. The murders that has been happening with them, at least 20 plus every year.
Erin Everett: Which is a lot.
Quinton Reynolds: Yes. I came up with this project and then of course the Black Lives Matter movement has been going on. When trans individuals have been murdered, and it’s the same thing as black cis man being murdered by the police is if a trans individual is being murdered by an individual, just because they’re trans. It’s the same thing as a cis man being murdered by the police because he’s black. I think it’s been a disconnect in the community, especially when Tony McDade was murdered a few days after George Floyd was. I did see some representation for Tony and I think it was more community-wise individuals, but I didn’t see a lot of representation for Tony in the movement when everybody was out protesting and marching. It wasn’t a representation for him at all.
Erin Everett: Yeah. When I read your write up on him on your website, I hadn’t heard about his death or his murder.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. A lot of the times with trans masculine and trans man, when we are murdered, or a lot of times were assaulted, raped, he was actually assaulted a few days before he was murdered, Tony was and nobody brought that up. Nobody said anything. Nobody really acknowledged Tony at all, except for the community. The only outcry that we really heard came from within the community. At first, he was still being misgender in his death, so they were calling him, misgendering him the whole time. Even individuals that knew him were misgendering him to the media. A lot of times they would either reported as being as a cis woman when we’re murdered or as a cis woman lesbian.
Quinton Reynolds: A lot of our numbers don’t end up coming up and I think it’s a disconnect right now with the black community and the trans community, because for black trans people before anything else before our gender, identity we’re black. Then when you come into… A lot of times it was a cis that was attacked right after the George Floyd’s protest and it’s like, we’re fighting the same fight that you all are fighting, but when we come back in the community, then we have to be scared for our lives. It’s a disconnect right now because I I feel that. I know it’s a disconnect for me and for a lot of individuals I talked to, but it’s how am I going to be fighting for the things you fight for and then I have to fear for my life. To me, you don’t want equality, you don’t want equity and you want privilege.
Erin Everett: Right. Yeah, we need to have more unity where people kind of embrace each other and fight this fight together rather than separate, so when you’re marching for Black Lives Matter, it should incorporate all black lives, regardless of gender identity and make sure that there’s support for the gender diverse community as well and that we’re announcing. I think it’s really important that we tell Tony McDade’s story as well, to give him some acknowledgement, because you’re right. It was overlooked. It wasn’t publicized. It was definitely in community magazines. Like the Advocate did the writeup on it, the extensive writeup on his case, but it wasn’t publicized in other major news outlets like it was for George Floyd and his death is just as important as anybody else’s in that community. Just taking this from the Advocate, Tony McDade was 38 and he was accused of fatally stabbing another man just minutes before his own death.
Erin Everett: He’d actually posted a video on Facebook saying he wanted revenge on a group of men who had beaten him the previous day, so to your point, he was assaulted. He was beaten the previous day and when he posted that he wanted revenge and that he was feeling suicidal because of the brutal attack he had received. They then came around and he was shot outside his apartment complex. Yeah, he was murdered and it looks like the Tallahassee chief police said that McDade pointed the gun at the officer, and then that’s why the officer shot, but I don’t know that, that would be true.
Quinton Reynolds: I’m hearing different stories. Some people were saying he didn’t even have a weapon.
Erin Everett: He probably didn’t. I mean, look at the climate and the culture that we’re in, it’s-
Quinton Reynolds: Tallahassee is… They’ve had prior to him, I believe they had two in the same month. Two other cop killings that were in Tallahassee alone. I’m not positive that he even had a weapon. I think they just seen another black man and-
Erin Everett: They profiled.
Quinton Reynolds: I don’t blame Tony really for wanting revenge, because he was really assaulted by a group of men just because of his gender identity. A lot of the times trans masculine and trans AFAB individuals are assaulted or raped. Sometimes murdered and it doesn’t get reported just like you were saying, they had these large gatherings and they had representation in the big media, but it was no representation. It was a little local representation in the media for Tony and that’s just the regular news for the local community, it was no representation for him nationally like it was broadcasted for the other individuals that were murdered.
Erin Everett: Right. Yeah. It says here in the article, he’s at least the 12th transgendered American to die violently this year. They say, at least because to your point, not everybody is being identified as gender diverse when their death is being reported, so that number is probably higher.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah, it is. Those are just the ones that are reported. I know as of now, we are at, I believe 19 or 20. This project Trans Stopping Violence is to really… We are more focusing on cis men and targeting cis black men of this project. This is a project, a collaboration with Men Stopping Violence. They’ll be helping us reach the audience in a demographic that we don’t really have access to, which is like cis men. They have more access to them. We’re hoping to put this piece into their curriculum to have some input and some information on trans individuals and identity. They do, do a good training around trying to be inclusive of different sexual orientations, but I think our collaboration is bringing out more information around gender identity. That’ll be put into their curriculum.
Quinton Reynolds: Their curriculum is actually individuals come across the nation just to have the training and then they go back to whatever organizations and they can conduct these trainings to people. A lot of times, individuals that are in domestic violence situations or that have a court. It’s kind of like a diversion. They have court, instead of going to jail, they are mandated to take this class and to pass it. You have to be in the class and involved in the class to actually get credit for going to class.
Erin Everett: Yeah, and deemed competent after it.
Quinton Reynolds: Yes. I believe this project and our collaboration them will reach a lot of folks and I hope it will do some justice and stop some of the violence that’s been happening for individuals. I also put on my website, the one of back in May. We’re just finding out about this a few weeks ago, another individual was attacked.
Erin Everett: Yeah. The 18 year old from California.
Quinton Reynolds: Kristian Rouse. He’s a kid pretty much. He just graduated from high school and he was left… They left him to die. His mom and his ex girlfriend ended up finding him. Now he’s having to go to rehab, learn to walk again, to do basic body functioning. Hopefully this brings out some type of empathy and humanizing people and stop making it seem like… A lot of times individuals that are attacked, these are people that they know, these are not a lot of times random people off the street. These are people that the individuals know.
Erin Everett: Yeah. You’re right. About his case is in, I think it was Los Angeles. You’re talking about this violent hate crime occurring in an area that is supposed to be known as one of the more progressive accepting areas. When you extrapolate that to areas like Georgia, that is, we live in our little bubble Atlanta that’s fairly progressive and fairly inclusive. We have a lot of work to do, of course, but in comparison to other parts of Georgia, Atlanta is like the holy grail, but you’re talking about this happening in a progressive area. That’s supposed to be safe and inclusive for people in the gender diverse community or the LGBTQA community in general and this type of violent crime is happening there.
Erin Everett: You can’t even begin to imagine what kind of violent crimes are going unreported in less inclusive areas and people in those communities where it happens like rural areas of Georgia and other conservative States, they’re often not even reported because the community is backing them for their decision for violence.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. That has been an issue. That’s why we focus a lot on collaborations because if we are linking people, we have other resources to get the information out to demographics and people that we can’t usually reach with just by ourselves. The unique thing about this project is it teaches about intersectionality. It teaches on the roots of patriarchy and the systematic views and systematic oppressions and also how things are set up in the patriarchy and colorization and pretty much how the systems work all the way from government to the media, to the individual, how these things are passed down. These stereotypes and this patriarchal views that the world, not only the world, but I think what America was built on.
Quinton Reynolds: I think this project is unique and it’ll bring about, I hope we can reach a wide range of people, not just the people that would attack somebody, but also the people that are looking sideways or laughing or putting somebody out of a business or won’t hire somebody because they’re trans. We did have a win in the Supreme court a few weeks ago saying that they can’t discriminate against a person because of gender identity or sexual orientation, but especially for places in the South that are places that are right to hire. It’s still going to be a struggle. Trans individuals always deal with discrimination on different levels.
Erin Everett: Yeah, of course. Which is why because it’s still, there’s a law against it. However, employers who are discriminatory can find other reasons for dismissal and things and not calling for an interview. Getting wide acceptance and more support for the community and what you’re doing is going to be really helpful. I also think is really important too, with your connection with lawyers and such, that can help people in the community navigate gender marker updates and things like that because that’s super important too. I often get patients who have had minor procedures done and in Georgia, this just kind of plays onto the whole discriminatory based on gender identity. In Georgia, you can’t change your marker on your driver’s license or your birth certificate without an affirming surgery. It does not have to be a vaginoplasty, phalloplasty or metoidioplasty.
Erin Everett: It can be anything and so I often get new patients who have had minor procedures, like a tracheal shave, or a bilateral mastectomy for affirming surgery, things like that who don’t know that they can update their marker and I think updating their marker protects them against different either discrimination, hate crimes, things like that because the name and the market then match their identity and they cannot be discriminated based on those things.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. We actually do a document project and you all help us with passport clinic that we provide for individuals and in the state of Georgia, if you have a passport and the passport office, you don’t have to have a surgery requirement to have your passport master in gender identity that you identify as, and you can use that passport to go also and change. You should be able to do that in any state. You should be able to use your passport to go inside of the DMV and have the gender marker changed. I touched on this a little bit at document project, not only does that but we help with services around marriage license, driver’s license.
Quinton Reynolds: Then this year we are focusing on actually building a campaign to take away those restrictions for having to have a surgery, to get your license changed over your gender marker on the license change.
Yeah, it’s got to change.
Quinton Reynolds: Yeah. We are building a campaign to get that done because a lot of the times when some individuals can’t afford surgery, so with that, like you said, it prevents people sometimes from getting employment, from going to school, from a different variety of things or resources that they might need or denied because their gender marker does not match up to the identity that they go in and the individual presents as daily.
Erin Everett: Right. Yeah. It’s got to change. It’s so outdated and honestly, some people don’t want to get surgery and that’s totally fine too, but they should still be able to update their marker.
Erin Everett: Yeah. Well, that’s great. Well, it’s been so interesting talking to you Quinton and that all this information is going to be so important for the community to hear. I do have other providers that listen to this podcast too, so if anyone is listening and wants more information on the project or wants to help with the resource guide that Quinton is setting up and his team, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll have contact information for Trans(forming) and Quinton in the podcast summary, if anyone wants more information or wants to donate or join, because you can become a member here in Atlanta. All those steps are outlined on their website, which is www.trans-forming.org. That will also be listed in the podcast summary. Thank you for your time Quinton. Is there anything else you wanted to mention or touch base on before we wrap up today?
Quinton Reynolds: No. I just want to thank you again for having me and also I wanted to let individuals know that if you don’t live in Atlanta, we can link you to other organizations that we partner up with and do collaborations with so don’t hesitate to reach out to us about anything. Again, you can stay informed on and updated with what we do on our website.
Erin Everett: Excellent. Yes, that’s so important because I have listeners from out-of-state, so if you’re sitting there listening, thinking, Oh, why don’t I have an amazing organization like this near me, reach out to Quinton and his team and they can potentially link you with an organization closer to you that can help you navigate finding a safe healthcare provider, some documentation assistance and all those types of things. Thank you so much. Thank you for coming on the show. I know you’re really busy with all the work that you’re doing and I really value everything that you’re doing and if there’s anything that I can do to help you out or make your projects more well known or anything like that, you just let me know and I’ll be happy to assist.
Quinton Reynolds: Will do. Thanks again, Erin.
Erin Everett: You’re so welcome.
In episode nineteen of Exclusively Inclusive, Erin Everett, NP-C, interviews Quinton Reynolds of Trans(forming), an Atlanta non-profit organization for members of the AFAB (assigned female at birth) community. Established 2007, Trans(forming) is a membership-based organization led by trans men, intersex, gender non-conforming people of color, wrongly assigned female at birth (including those who ID as male/ man) and those who are questioning.
During the episode, Erin and Quinton discuss Trans(forming)’s mission to bring awareness around sexual health in AFAB individuals, de-stigmatizing HIV and gender diverse people, and de-stigmatizing negative characteristics for AFAB people when it comes to sexual health. Quinton gives an overview of the work the organization does to help educate medical providers on trans-friendly intake procedures, as well as the importance of PrEP for HIV prevention for members of the AFAB community.
Later in the episode the two discuss the need for pregnancy prevention education for AFAB individuals and the process of updating a resource guide of transgender friendly providers. The two discuss Quinton’s involvement with the Trans Stopping Violence project, to help prevent violence against transgender women.
Rounding out the episode, the two discuss discrimination against transgender individuals in the workplace, as well as important subjects around gender marker and name changes on birth certificates, drivers licenses and passports.