A Journey for Acceptance: Transgender Lives in the Miami Valley

Pastor Joy Simpson of Eternal Joy Metropolitan Community Church holds the rainbow colored stole she wears during service. Her partner, Stacy Sandberg, stands behind. Simpson identifies as bisexual, while Sandberg identifies as trans*.

The latest cover of the Dayton City Paper is not what I had chosen to represent my latest piece with the paper. What I saw published today has been met with backlash, and rightfully so. Sources mentioned in my story have expressed dislike for the cover artwork, and the play on words within the headlines. Twitter expressed disapproval and offense earlier today as well.

The text within the story explains why the cover and headlines are inappropriate. Transgender people explain how their identity is frequently misrepresented and incorrectly portrayed. Too often, the focus shifts on sex and sex characteristics when a more educated discussion is needed. A hairy leg and foot stepping into heels doesn't quite get that message across.

I do not stand behind these editorial decisions, however, I do stand behind my talented family at Dayton City Paper. Their intentions were not to offend. Their mistakes are excellent examples of gender misunderstanding knowing no boundaries - and more importantly, the need for this discussion.

Please, read my piece in the Dayton City Paper on transgender acceptance in America's "Queerest City." It also appears here on my website.