Justice

This Brave Individual Came Out As Trans in a Text to 2.4 Million People

Nonprofit DoSomething.org has a popular text messaging program that encourages users to do social good. This week, the two million teen users on the platform received text messages from someone named "Alysha," but on Thursday afternoon, users received a text saying Alysha is now going to be referred to as Freddie.

“I’ve texted for DoSomething for 3yrs as Alysha, but I’ve been struggling,” reads the message, which was obtained by Recode. “Im Trans. Im Freddie! Kind of a big deal.”

Users could interact with Freddie in a few ways: Type "A" to ask questions, "B" to show encouragement, or "C" to discuss something else.

DoSomething.org

Freddie Bologno, a staffer at DoSomething and the individual behind the texts, told Recode that the message is very personal. Two months ago, Bologno opened up about gender identity to co-workers. As noted by Recode, "Bologno identifies as outside of binary gender categories and prefers people to use the plural pronouns 'they' or 'them,' as opposed to 'he' or 'she.'"

DoSomething and Bologno chose to give Alysha a new identity as well, as merely replacing her with Freddie didn't seem like the right way to go about things.

“Part of being a real person is being authentic,” Bologno said. "Adding more visibility and narratives can only help."

This comes a month after Caitlyn Jenner made headlines for gracing the cover of Vanity Fair magazine for its July 2015 issue, a move praised by many, including fellow transgender celebrity Laverne Cox. As much as Bologno likes what Jenner and Cox have done for the trans community, Bologno feels it's important to give attention to regular trans people rather than only focus on the rich and famous. This is why Bologno was pleased to publicly add a different kind of trans narrative into the mix with DoSomething's texts.

Bologno said it's crucial for teens to understand the trans community so it's less scary for those who want to come out.

"It’s so important for trans people to know there are other trans people out there — ‘Hey, this person I have been texting with for three years is just like me,'" Bologno said.

Bologno received ample celebration from many on Twitter, including singers Tegan and Sara:

For more on issues facing transgender Americans, check out our video on the battle for gender neutral bathrooms:

 
Why We're Still Fighting Over Bathrooms

Haven't we seen "separate but equal" before?

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, January 29, 2015