This month marks the four year anniversary of the MN T-Girls!
I remember the very first MN T-Girl meeting at Cafe Southside in Minneapolis. I arrived a little early and wondered if anyone would show up. But a few people did, and now, 4 years and a whole lot of eyeliner later, the group is still going strong with close to 200 members. When I started the group, I had a goal of helping other t-girls find the courage to go out, have fun, make friends and experience life outside of their living room. I also wanted to help us become visible to the rest of the world. To show people that we are real and are more than how we are portrayed in movies.
I’d like to think that these goals are being accomplished. At almost every monthly event, there is usually at least one t-girl out for the first time. Almost all events are out in public, whether at the mall, in a restaurant or museum. I am also seeing increased tolerance, acceptance and love from the real world. Whether it is the group being invited for a private shopping event, a play or simply someone telling me that they love my dress.
I like looking back at how things have evolved, and I also like to celebrate! Yesterday was the monthly MN T-Girls outing and it was truly special. Yesterday’s event was actually comprised of three separate moments. The first was an amazing combination of our history and of our future. The University of Minnesota recently unveiled an exhibit documenting the history of the transgender and non-gender conforming community with a special emphasis on Minnesota’s role and community. The exhibit, titled ‘In Their Own Words’: The Tretter Transgender Oral History Project is an amazing collection of literature, newspaper articles, photographs and interviews. I was excited to see the exhibit and thought it’d be interesting and important for the MN T-Girls to visit. I think history is so important. I have the freedom to walk through Target in heels but I can’t forget those activists who fought for this freedom.
Typically, the museum is not open on the weekends, but thanks to the U of M’s kindness, they opened for our group for a special weekend showing. I cannot thank the U of M enough for their flexibility. What made the visit extra-extra-extra special was our tour guide was Andrea Jenkins, the curator of the exhibit and the first out transgender person of color elected to public office in the United States! Jenkins will represent Ward 8 on the Minneapolis City Council next year.
I learned a lot about our history, such as when the term ‘transgender’ was first used, how different ethnic groups have had multiple genders for a very long time, and how the U of M was the second university in the United States to perform a gender reaffirmation surgery. It was an amazing exhibit and I am still stunned by the courage of those who came before us.
Again, special thanks to Ms. Jenkins and the U of M!
We had dinner reservations but there was a little time to kill before then. A small group of us went to Midwest Makeup Supply in Minneapolis to do a little shopping. The MN T-Girls had a private makeup event there earlier in the year and it’s always fun to visit.
After the exhibit and shopping it was time to eat! We had a wonderful meal at PUBLIC kitchen + bar in Saint Paul. We had dined there two years ago and like last time, we had delicious food and wonderful service. I can’t wait to go back!
It was a fun day and I cannot thank Andrea, the U of M, Public and Midwest Makeup enough for helping make the day special. I also want to thank every member of the MN T-Girls for helping the group grow and making the group what it is.
Onto the next four years!