In this special from State Of The Re:Union, stories of trans people and their families at many different moments of life, from childhood to adulthood to elders, as parents, as spouses and as kids.
When you find out a relative or friend is expecting a baby, what’s the first question you usually ask them? "Is it a boy or a girl?" Gender is foundational to our understanding of one another, and an integral part of our family lives. It’s so fundamental that we don’t even realize we’re instinctually sorting people into male and female—until we encounter someone who doesn’t seem to cleanly fit into either category.
It’s estimated that there are nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. who identify themselves as transgender. In recent years, more and more people are publicly declaring that they feel more comfortable in a different category than the one assigned to them at birth, or they’re throwing out the gender labels all together.
There have been people who don’t conform to certain notions of gender dating back to antiquity across cultures, but they’ve historically faded into the woodwork and stayed quiet. Now transgender people are coming out of the closet in greater numbers than ever.
State Of The Re:Union takes a look at some of these stories, from a 15-year old girl who transitioned and helped her local politicians develop a new perspective, to a Catholic nun who has secretly counseled transgender people for 15 years, and a World War II veteran and widow who fought the Social Security Administration for benefits.
State Of The Re:Union is a public radio series hosted by Al Letson. In each episode, Letson and his team explores how a particular American city or town creates community, the ways people transcend challenging circumstances and the vital cultural narratives that give an area its uniqueness.
Listen to this special: