INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — People who are transgender face some of the highest rates of violence, especially trans women of color; then add to that the fear of being shunned by family and friends.
A new support group is helping people in Indiana.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 28 transgender or nongender-conforming people have been killed around the country in 2021. Even with the fear of violence, advocates said, it’s important to keep living your truth. One Indy woman hopes her story inspires someone else.
Cosmo Xavier has always known who she is. But for a while, because others didn’t accept it, she hid out of fear.
“I spent 20 something years of my life where I’ve been so traumatized that I have to essentially relearn how to be a human being, and not just a human being, but that version of myself that I like,” she said.
She never felt comfortable at home and school. But today, she proudly stands in her truth.
“It’s not about being left alone. It’s about being able to live your life. Being able to search for your own little pursuit of happiness.”
Being a transgender woman comes with a lot of joy and fear; the threats are real. In the LGBTQ community, trans women of color face higher rates of violence and, if not violence, judgment.
“There was a point when I didn’t think I was going to make it to 18.”
It’s not always been easy to ignore, but she’s done it and now is using her life lessons to hopefully help someone else. She and co-facilitator Erica Cox lead the Damien Center’s Transgender and Non-binary Support Group.
“Being in this job, with this title, with my responsibilities, what it means to me is that as a trans person I get to look people in the eye and say, ‘Look, I’ve been through everything that you’ve been through.'”
The support group was designed as a safe space for people to come for encouragement and to share stories of what life is like in the hopes of creating a more resilient community. Xavier said building that alone isn’t easy, but all of us can do our part.
“Let people be free to express themselves with people, be free to love who they love and do what they do.”