Dress for Success collection day at WQAD

BREAKFAST WITH… Candi Stratton, local transgender activist

This morning, Stormtrack 8 Meteorologist Eric Sorensen took weather on the road to Brew in the Village in Davenport. As part of our "Breakfast With..." series, he was able to sit down with Candi Stratton, a local transgender activist.

Stratton was born in and raised in Chicago in the 1960s, being adopted at birth. She says "I was a girl from the beginning. I don't think I thought anything about it. My dad did a home video when I was five and I came out in a dress. But it wasn't until I met my first trans girl when I was 17 that it clicked."

Stratton became a flight attendant at American Airlines in 1989 and is a proud advocate for others at her company. "I wasn't always respected but they've supported me over these years. I am so proud to work for them."

Viminda Shafer, Program Coordinator of The Project of the Quad Cities joined the discussion to speak about the services the organization provides to LGBTQ youth and adults.

According to a national Report of the US Transgender Survey completed in 2015, 77% of students who are out or perceived to be transgender in a K-12 setting have reported some form of mistreatment such as verbal/physical/sexual assault or disciplined more harshly. 40% of transgender individuals report that they have attempted suicide in their lifetime as opposed to 4.6% in the US population. Nearly one-quarter of people who are out or perceived to be transgender at the college or vocational level reported being verbally, physically or sexually assaulted.

Nearly one-quarter have experienced some form of housing discrimination such as being evicted or denied a home or apartment for being transgender.

30% have reported being homeless at some point in their lives. Of those. 26% have avoided staying in a shelter because of fear of mistreatment. 70% of those that did stay in a shelter reported mistreatment such as harassment, sexually or physically assaulted, or kicked out because of being transgender.

In the Quad Cities, Shafer tells News 8 that 18% of clients who receive mental health counseling identify as transgender. "In addition, we see countless other clients in our clinic who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, gender neutral or gender fluid."

When it comes to trans issues, both say the bottom line is to love your child. Try to learn. Try to understand that people need to live authentically.

If you or someone you know needs assistance when it comes to LGBTQ+ , there are resources available here in the Quad Cities. The Project of the Quad Cities and Clock, Inc. are two places to look.

You can also contact Viminda Shafer directly at (309)762-5433, ext. 532 or email her at viminda@tpqc.org.

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