Transgender Woman in Amherst: “These Protections Provide a Sense of Peace” Samantha Brank • Amherst, MA

Samantha Brank is quick to answer when asked what it is she loves most about living in the Bay State.

“I grew up here, I have all my friends and family here, and that’s a big support. Plus, people are a lot more liberal and accepting here than they are in other places.”

As a transgender woman, Samantha says the the opportunities she’s been given to educate the public aren’t ones she takes for granted, and works hard to make sure she is an effective communicator.

“I’m fortunate in the opportunities I’ve been given. For me, broadcasting and showing that transitioning is possible, and it’s not as taboo or stigmatizing as people make it out to be. My main goal is to spread awareness and exposure, and bring up all the important things and show people we are the same as everybody else.”

The existing protections in MA law have given Samantha a sense of peace: “Being trans is hard enough, it feels like we’re always being judged; it’s something always in the back of your head. Having legal protections and ability to take recourse, it allows people to live more comfortably and confidently in public because they know the law is on their side.”

“To take this law away, it would affect my confidence going out into public. My security of knowing when I go to apply for a job or get a cup of coffee, I could be targeted for who I am. It takes us back to the dark place we’ve worked to come out of. Having that legal thing taken away it’s going make people feel not supported or accepted, or our identities are’t real.”

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