Sharon, Tulsa, Oklahoma
“Out of us girls I drink the most... I don’t get the drunkest. The place I hang out at is a neighborhood bar and it’s literally down the street from where I live. And I joke that it’s just a nine minute walk to the bar and only 15 minutes to walk back home. I walked in the first day and I sat down at the bar and the bartender comes over, this big burly… uhhh... lumber sexual type. And he goes “Hey, what’s your name and what do you want?”
And I whispered... “Sharon…?”
And he said “What?”
I said louder "Sharon!”
And he goes “Oh, cool! What’re ya drinkin?”
And he set the tone for my entire relationship with that bar. And everyone in that bar has just been so cool and accepting. I tell people, if somebody walked into that bar and had an issue with me, I would be the last person to have to stand up. That being said, when I stand up, everybody clears away. When I started bringing friends over there, they were like “We’re going to a straight bar? Are you sure? Are we gonna be okay?” And I’ve met some people who are like “Uh, maybe next time.” But then some of my friends have also been very accepting, very willing to go, and they... the people at the bar... have accepted all of us just wonderfully.
One of the things that we do stress in our group, in our trans support program, is: The way we affect change is to be seen. And walking in the door - when I became the facilitator, that was my thing. Be seen.
Now I learned really quick I have to qualify that with: Do not risk your well-being.
Don’t risk your job, don’t risk your neighborhood, don’t risk your life. But, be seen when you can be.”