IndyStar: Transgender Hoosiers transition to new lives
by Shari Rudavsky, IndyStar
The Indy Star presented this in-depth article on three trans individuals, including ITWA Executive Director Jacqueline Patterson. Excerpt:Five decades ago, when Jacqueline Patterson was growing up as a boy in Brownsburg and Indianapolis, she knew only that she did not feel like the boy everyone saw. Her mother had an intuition something was different about her son. She warned him not to let anyone see the feminine streak she sensed.
“She kind of knew it, but I was a son, and I had to be that way,” Patterson said. “In those days, there was no other choice.”
So Patterson lived life as the man her body said she was. She joined the Army, became an engineer, married, divorced, married again and had three daughters.
This pattern is not uncommon for trans women, experts say. In fact, the New England Journal article suggests that transgender women who are born male may try to deny their transgender tendencies by gravitating to the military with its “hypermasculine culture.”
Last year, Patterson founded the Indiana Transgender Wellness Alliance, which aims to improve life for gender variant adults and youths. The organization provides resources and advocates for the transgender community, and it teaches those on the outside — such as health care providers and police officers — how to provide services to this community.
The alliance had planned to hold its first conference this summer. Lack of funding has delayed those plans until next spring. But Patterson, 63, said she feels the tide turning.
“Socially in Indiana, people are just not educated enough on the transgender community and the importance of it,” she said. “I just think that companies that I went to couldn’t wrap their minds around something that they couldn’t envision. The visibility is just not there in Indiana yet, but it has really picked up a lot of speed.”