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  . . When River Francis initially came out as trans, it wasn’t to open...




When River Francis initially came out as trans, it wasn’t to open arms. Their struggling marriage crumbled and they found themselves homeless for stretches at a time. Throughout their periods of housing insecurity, one thing remained constant: their motivation to help queer and trans youth. Thanks to the support of others, River was eventually able to enter a stable living situation, which allowed them the opportunity to not only focus on their transition, but to set their sights on getting an undergraduate degree and pursuing a career in advocacy for queer and trans youth.


Transcript provided by YouTube:

I’m River Francis. I’m from Bar Harbor, Maine.
When I was six years old, I saw an episode of  Night Court, which featured a trans person. And
for the first time I realized that that’s a thing  that was real, that it wasn’t just something in my
head. Moving forward a few years, in eighth grade,  the school decided to show us Ace Ventura. And
that movie definitely made me aware that it  was also something that I should be hiding.
I ended up getting married because that  was the thing a guy was supposed to do. And
she had some kids already, and  then we raised a couple of more.
For 15 years, I lived in this relationship and  I just kept getting more and more depressed.
One day I just came to the realization  that I absolutely had to come out.
And the… the relationship went from bad  to worse. It was no longer safe for me to
stay and I ended up having to leave. And  end up… ended up at my grandparents’.
And eventually met some people that had a  wigwam on their property that I could use.
I had a lot of time to myself just to think about  who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. In all
of that, the one thing throughout my life that  really gave me purpose was raising my kids. And
I knew that I still wanted to help kids. But  I had no education. I had nowhere to… to go. .
At the coldest part of the winter, I ended  up having a mental breakdown. I stopped
gathering firewood. I stopped trying to keep  the place warm. The people whose land I was on
knew I was in trouble and they found me a safer  place to be. And from there, I got moved around.
I ended up staying at an arts collective for a  few weeks, while they found me a better home,
with some college students. That was  where I had my, my first experience
actually interacting with another trans  person. He actually helped me a lot with
the way that I thought about how the world  views me, as compared to how I view me.
When I was worried about, you know, passing,  which I really can’t as a non-binary person,
he said, “Well, what does it really mean to pass?”  Which is really just to be accepted as who you
are. That gave me the confidence that I needed  to just go forth in life and stop worrying about
who people thought I needed to be and worried more  just about living my life. I went from there to a
few months at the YWCA, where I got to meet a lot  of very interesting women from all over the world.
My turn at public housing had come up. I  had been waiting for two and a half years
and they offered me the apartment that I’m in  now. At that point, I had been on hormones for
about two years and I felt that it was  time to start getting surgical affirmation.
I didn’t really have a ride  to get me down for my surgery,
so I put out a request. Through sheer  chance, it just happened to be one of my
favorite teachers from high school that was my  driver. And she was now working with Out Maine.
My ride showed up at like four o’clock in the  morning and we were both just exhausted. And I
get into the car and we’re just carrying on idle  conversation. All of a sudden she has a moment
where she realizes exactly who I was, ‘cause  she… she didn’t recognize me at all anymore.
And that was when we got talking about what  it was that I wanted to do with my life.
I… I shared my dream of working with kids and  helping helping queer youth get into services and
get the help that they need. She told me that  what she was doing with Out Maine was pretty
much exactly that. She was meeting with high  school-age and recently graduated queer youth,
doing overnight activities and filling out  paperwork to apply for aid and scholarships.
I was invited along as a chaperone to one of those  overnights, but I was also a participant. I was
able to finally feel like I could actually get the  education I needed to make my dream happen. Within
two months, I was enrolled in school. And now I’m  studying mental health and human services. I’m
working to get my case management certification  and I’m minoring and advocacy specifically so that
I can help queer youth get the services  that I never had access to growing up.
It’s not just a transition  story. I mean, my transition
is a thing that happened. It’s a part  of who I am, but my education and
my dream to work with… with kids and help them  get services – that is more in line with who I am.
Support is important to anybody going through  any kind of struggle. Not every queer kid
out there has the support of their families,  but they do still need support. So there does
have to be professionals out there  who are both willing and able to give it.

See also  Artist Thrives After Coming Out About Homosexual Movie Previous. “All of the Optimistic Issues Began To Occur” [Video]

This post was previously published on YouTube.


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The post After Hitting Rock Bottom, Trans Person Finds Inspiration in Helping Queer and Trans Youth. [Video] appeared first on The Good Men Project.