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We Happy Trans Website Accentuates the Positive
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 07/19/12
Last updated on: 07/20/12
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Stephen Ira Beatty, son of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, is a contributor to the site's video series.

The website, We Happy Trans, provides a place for sharing positive trans experiences. Launched in January 2012, and targeted primarily to young people, the site offers information about trans resources and events, but its most fascinating feature is a series of videos in which trans men and women share their positive experiences.

The site was established by Jen Richards, a young transwoman from Chicago, who says that "We Happy Trans was created so that trans people could share stories of positive experiences, so the wider world could see that, like any other community, we too thrive, struggle, and overcome; to give further evidence that we too have writers magically shaping words to reflect and elevate shared human experience, and eloquent speakers calling to the better angels of our nature; that we too have bold, visible heroes, as well as quiet warriors or ordinary life; that we too laugh, cry, gossip and occasionally engage in petty squabbles; that we are Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, pagans, Buddhists, Hindus, Theosophists, magical panty wearing Mormons, and seekers; we read Shakespeare and watch reality t.v.; occupy queer neighborhoods, small towns, dance halls, local pubs, schools, offices, theaters, prisons, NPOs, nursing homes, hunting parties and coffee klatches in every conceivable place on earth, and possibly beyond; that we are parents, friends, children, second-cousins once-removed, neighbors, strangers, lovers and mortal enemies; that we too are every possible variation of X-sexual; are freaks, utter bores, hysterically funny, plain odd, droll, absurdist and everything between; that we contain multitudes."

In the video below, Richards explains the origins and purpose of the video series. It is rooted, she says, in the fact that her own transition has largely been met with acceptance and support. "I'm so much happier since beginning that my only real regret is not having started sooner. And one of the reasons I didn't start sooner was that I didn't see myself in the trans narratives I had encountered, most of which were usually sensationalized, often absolute and, unfortunately, tragic."

She continues, "The trans people I first read about knew from the youngest ages that they were in the wrong body. They were often significantly dysphoric, depressed, and closeted, saw their trans status as an untenable psychiatric condition and accepted diagnoses of mental illness, or at least had to pretend that was the case in order to obtain basic medical support. And their need to transition was typically met with scorn, derision, judgment and abandonment."

While evincing great compassion for people whose stories are encompassed within the familiar narrative, she emphasizes that that narrative is not universal. Hence, the need for other stories.

One of the contributors to the video series is Stephen Ira Beatty, the trans son of actors Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. One cannot but be impressed by his fierce intelligence and wide range of reading, especially for a twenty-year-old. A student at Sarah Lawrence University, he identifies among his trans role models Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Kate Bornstein, and Jennifer Boylan.

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