Victoria Quaintance is the board chairperson for Gender Alliance of the South Sound. The Gender Alliance for the South Sound, according to their website, focuses on helping and creating a community for individuals who identify with any type of gender other than the one they were given at birth. Meetings are in the Olympia and Tacoma areas, but they want people from all over the South Sound area to feel comfortable attending. For more information you can visit their website at www.SouthSoundGender.com.
Rebecca Cadle: What kind of message would you like to send to the students at SPSCC?
Victoria Quaintance: The T-Town presentation was conceived as a way to tell of our struggles of overcoming adversity to hopefully come out on the other side as triumphant. This is a direct attempt to find a commonality with the viewer. By putting ourselves, just for a moment, into the shoes of the people in the stories we open ourselves to the underlying message; diversity, unity and community, the three concepts or threads that make up make up everything we know.
RC: What was the hardest part for you generally speaking? And how would you reiterate it to help others?
VQ: My most difficult part of transitioning my gender was giving myself permission. I had to reach a really low spot before I could begin to accept me for whom and what I am. For most of my life I bought into what I figured society required me to be. That was a mistake that is hard to fix but now I am in recovery. By accepting that everything that I have gone through, all the bad and all the good, are what has made me who I am I have begun the process of learning to love myself. I know that I cannot truly love anything unless I love myself first.
RC: What and how has the community locally around us changed from the past to the present?
VQ: Good question. From reading about how life was 50 years ago for trans people I get the idea that someone daring enough to challenge gender stereotypes did so at their peril. They were not taken seriously and sensationalized for the wow factor only. There has been a gradual but steady move toward recognizing that trans are just people and as long as they are not harming others they should be afforded the right to pursue their happiness. Society has achieved a climate where a support and education group like the Gender Alliance of the South Sound can make some headway in helping trans people. Just a few years ago such an organization would have a great deal more working against it.
RC. Why do you think this is an important message to send and share with the community?
VQ: My transition is just beginning and in a way I have been in transition all my life. Acknowledging that my narrowly defined, constricted living was incongruent with nature has freed me to search for my place in this world. I seek answers to questions I have yet to think of. My spirit was kept from developing by our system. Now it unfolds to embrace the concept that we are all connected to every single particle in our universe. This beautiful awakening has helped me realize that I cannot be free as long as others are in bondage. My existence is tied directly to the well being of others. The gender thing was as a stopper in a bottle. I pulled that cork so now my spirit or conscience flows. Look what freeing one’s mind of wrong, hurtful preconceived thinking can do!