Transgender Visibility Matters Project by TK Lawrence

These cards say "You have met, served, or helped a transgender person. Now you know". Then you drop a card as you leave a restaurant, a store, anywhere you go, as a way to educate people about being transgender. - Tygh Lawrence-Clarke

My name is Tygh Lawrence-Clarke and I am a trans man of color. I transitioned late in life, at the age of 50. When I decided to transition I relied on YouTube for information. As you can imagine I had many questions. What I found was very helpful, and actually gave me the confidence I needed to dive right in.  However, I couldn’t find many people my age. So, I decided to document my transition with the hope that I could help educate other trans guys, both young and old. Within two months of coming out I was on Testosterone, and by month five I had top surgery, all the while documenting the ups and downs of transition.

In addition to relying on YouTube, I started going to conventions to educate myself and to actually meet other transgender people. I remember sitting in a show and tell seminar, in anticipation of seeing someone post top surgery in the flesh, not just on YouTube. Seeing their chests and talking to those guys solidified in my mind that I would do the same in return once I had my top surgery. Now I do! It’s so gratifying to be able to help others on their journeys.  I also give back by speaking in groups and sharing my experiences.

Another cause that I support is The Transgender Encounter Project. I started out as simply a strong proponent, using these cards to increase our visibility. These cards say “You have met, served, or helped a transgender person. Now you know”. Then you drop a card as you leave a restaurant, a store, anywhere you go, as a way to educate people about being transgender. I realized that not everyone has the funds to pay for their own cards, so I bought extra cards and asked on social media if anyone would like me to send some. I got a slew of responses. So many that I had to buy more cards to send out. Since then the original founder on TEP has moved on to other projects and I am now the primary owner.  It’s all about visibility and I’m just trying to find a way, any way, to spread the word.

While social media and conventions have been my primary avenues for promoting visibility, I have also made an effort to educate my community, from my primary care doctor, to my vet, dentist, tattoo artist, and son’s principal. I encourage their questions, with the hope that little by little I am making life better for everyone.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Shawn,
    I don’t know if you wrote the article about anxiety, but I found that helpful. I also found the Transgender Encounter helpful as well, as I have been coming out to family and friends before starting T. I have been lesbian since 12, though I have identified as male since age 7. So far, I have support, and started seeing a transgender therapist. I am not yet ready to tell those I know will have a more difficult time with it. But I am already beginning to remove the physical faces, i.e., longer hair, earings, and started dressing more masculine again. I feel lighter, and happy about my decision. But yes, it is confusing to know where to be right now. Do I hang out here? Being on a Lesbian forum is beginning to feel a little weird.
    But thank you for writing. It helped a lot to read it.
    Thomas

  2. Hey Thomas,
    I realize you weren’t writing to me, but I run the Transgender Encounter project and am glad that you found it helpful!. I understand how you feel about hanging out in Lesbian forums as becoming weird…stick with spaces like this.
    Take care,
    ~Tygh