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In 2016, the ACLU of Mississippi spearheaded the formation of the We Are All Mississippi Campaign (WAAM), which seeks to shift the culture in Mississippi from one that pursues preservation of exclusion to one of inclusion. WAAM is committed to ensuring Mississippi is truly representative of Southern values: respect, equality, and acting with decency towards all Mississippians. WAAM’s overarching goal is to create a state where no one is denied employment, housing, educational opportunities, or access to public accommodations because of who they are, where they come from, what faith they practice, or who they love.
The Transgender Education and Advocacy Program of Mississippi (TEAP-MS) is an integral part of the WAAM Campaign and helps to advance the mission of ridding discrimination in the Magnolia State.
There are approximately 15,000 people living in Mississippi who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming (GNC). All of them are subject to discrimination because of their gender identity due to the lack of protections. No one should be denied a job, a place to live, or access to a public place or business simply because of who they are. Unfortunately, this kind of rejection is all too common for transgender people. There is much work to be done across Mississippi to make sure that transgender and GNC people are visible, accepted, supported, protected, and treated equally under the law.
The I Too Am Mississippi Story Telling Project is designed to elevate the voices, faces, and lives of Mississippi’s transgender citizens. This project challenges restrictive narratives about who belongs and who gets to participate fully. Bias, whether explicit or implicit, is a system that operates at all levels of our society – individual, structural and institutional. Bias can be unpacked through story in ways that are more accessible than by providing data alone. By understanding the human toll of discrimination and institutionalized barriers, we can advance justice and dismantle the hatred of difference. Story also allows us to explore the commonalities we all share – hope, family, a desire for security, and to live our lives fully.
In the “I Too Am Mississippi Story Telling Project” introduces you to Shaun, Alicia, Fiona, Stephenie, and Jensen, and includes their personal stories through video, a pop-up mobile exhibit, and catalog of photos. We hope that their stories help build a bridge between the sociological perceptions and the individually lived realities of trans Mississippians.