Post by Eva Reign Thomas
Photo by Ryan Gavin
“My senior year of high school, I said I wasn’t going to be the person who did all the things, and here I am. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about people and how to identify people who are in my corner. I learned how to be independent in a lot of ways.
I didn’t jump right in my freshman year — I wanted to scope things out. It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I was working for MU Residential Life that I was exposed to so many different clubs and orgs.
The MU LGBTQ Resource Center was where it started, and I joined Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC) and met really cool people through that. I learned more about the other social justice centers. I just kind of lived in the Student Center and didn’t want to leave, especially when I started working for the Design Center. That was something I had set out to do since my freshman year.
I started working at the Design Center because I wanted to learn from everyone there. I think it really helped my education; I learned so much there and how to do different things like how to talk to clients and manage projects. It was a really good experience and chance to learn more about different orgs and connect with different people.
It’s funny because everything has kind of flowed together. I think it’s really cool how I’ve been able to try a bit of everything. Have a list of goals you’d like to accomplish and skills you’d like to acquire. It’s OK to dabble here and there. If something doesn’t work out, it’s OK.
I’m really happy with where I’ve gotten to at Mizzou. It was here that I found the people who were ready to affirm me as a black trans woman, which is something I never expected. I literally always told myself that if I had lived in New York, I would’ve started my transition. It was my justification for not going forward with it or even exploring the possibilities of being trans.
But I’ve met such awesome people, particularly Deb, who let me stay in their house for free last summer. I’ve been lucky in ways that girls like me haven’t been. Obviously I still face a lot of bigotry and discrimination, but at the same time, I’ve had so many people in my corner. I didn’t lose my job when I started my transition. People at my jobs were totally cool with it. It’s another bit of privilege I often think about.
I think that bit of luck and circumstance and just the good people I’ve been able to meet, that’s why I’m about to graduate. I’m really fortunate for that, and I hope that other trans women of color who walk on this campus are even more fortunate than I’ve been.”