Michelle Sheppard urges everyone to sit down and listen
TRANS woman and radio personality Michelle Sheppard has stressed the need for people to listen to each other in a speech at the Surf Coast Shire’s IDAHOBIT (the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia) ceremony.
Speaking at the council chambers in Torquay on May 17, Ms Sheppard said everyone was so worried about difference, and only saw each other on the surface.
“We sometimes don’t even get the chance, we keep on going because we’re in this fast-paced world, and that’s what bothers me.
“We don’t sit down and take the time to listen – we speak and we judge before we listen, and unfortunately, that’s how the situation with the world is at the moment.”
In that spirit, she said people that wanted to be allies of the LGBT community should try to be inclusive.
“It’s more than just gay versus lesbian, or LGBT versus straight, it’s about being an ally for each other.
“So my message about sitting down and listening to each other is not about straights listening to the rest of the rainbow community, it’s about all of us listening to each other.”
Ms Sheppard said there was still a long way to go towards full acceptance for transgender women in society.
“Just because you see marriage equality doesn’t mean things are getting better.
“We need more than just corporate spaces in employment – we need the local fish and chip shop, we need the local Coles and Safeways and everything like that, we need more representation in those spaces.
“We need to see the average me as the checkout chick checking out your groceries, because the media is representing me as a trans woman as a prostitute, as a drug dealer, dealing drugs and going to prison… there’s nothing positive in media for a transgender woman.
“Men see me as a man in a dress, and so do a lot of the women. But at the end of the day, I’m no different – I’m just a parent, I pay my taxes, I pay my mortgage, I go to work and I just try to get through this crazy mess that the rest of you are doing, and you can’t communicate that to anyone, because nobody wants to listen.”