Trevor Project’s Miranda Rosenblum on the power of knowing you’re not alone

Miranda Rosenblum is living a life of pride.

Having come out as transgender/non-binary at 19, they have wrangled with the typical prejudices and perils – and joys – of living at the intersection of queer, transgender and non-binary.

It’s no surprise, then, that Rosenblum has chosen a career of service to LGBTQ youth as volunteer coordinator at the Trevor Project, which is partnering with Macy’s this year to help end youth suicide. Through June 30, 2019, Macy’s will donate $2 of the purchase price of these t-shirts and socks to The Trevor Project. And if you round up your in-store purchases through June 17, the extra change will go to the group.

Before joining Trevor, Rosenblum worked at GLAAD, LGBT Community Center of New York City, and Equality Virginia.

When not helping others, Miranda lives in Brooklyn with six thriving houseplants, and can be found museum-hopping across NYC or curled up on the couch watching their favorite queer TV shows while “eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.”

LGBTQNation caught up with Rosenblum to talk about their work and the power of leading an authentic, purpose-driven life.

You’ve been a strong advocate for transgender visibility since your own coming out. What’s the biggest challenge been personally and with your work at Trevor?

I’m so proud of my trans identity and our big, beautiful, diverse community. I know how affirming it is to see my identities reflected in positive and real ways, and it brings me so much joy to be a part of that change.

Visibility can also be complicated. As trans people, our choice to be seen when, where, and how we want to be is frequently taken away from us. Sometimes being visible is hard. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes it’s not safe to be visible. We need to be able to hold space for those who choose to be visible and those who choose not to be, so everyone in our community knows that either choice is okay. And those decisions can change day by day, hour by hour. In the hard moments, giving myself the space to take a step back and prioritize my own self-care is so important.

What’s the biggest misconception you’ve encountered about being non-binary, and what can be done to educate not just the general public but the gay community?

As a non-binary trans person, the biggest misconceptions I’ve encountered are regarding my pronouns. I’m frequently told that using they/them pronouns for me “seems optional” or that it’s “too hard” to gender me correctly—and even that they/them pronouns are “grammatically incorrect.” It can take practice and patience to learn how to use new pronouns or to start using a different set of pronouns for somebody. However, above all, trans people deserve respect, and that includes using somebody’s correct pronouns. And, by the way, the singular “they” has been used since the late 1300s, including in works by William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. It’s even in the dictionary.

What was your first exposure to Trevor Project?

I came out when I was 19 years old. I lived in Virginia where there were very limited resources for the queer community; it was hard to access affirming healthcare, difficult to find a trans-competent therapist, and exhausting to advocate for our needs in our wider communities. In those vulnerable moments, members of my community turned to The Trevor Project for life-affirming support when they really needed it. When I saw how essential and life-saving these resources were, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to creating and expanding resources that uplift and protect my LGBTQ siblings, sisters, and brothers.

 

There’s such a disparity between increased visibility and increased acceptance these days. The community is more visible than ever, yet there’s a big backlash. What does this mean for vulnerable queer kids?

In the last few years, there has been a significant increase of positive representation for the LGBTQ community in media, including superstar activists like Jazz Jennings. Increasing diverse representation across media can help young people feel like they are not alone, and show everyone how extraordinary our community is. But we still have a long way to go. Queer young people across the country still live in fear of violence, victimization, rejection from their communities, and more. The Trevor Project is always here for those young people who need support.

Who were your queer heroes growing up?

Leslie Feinberg and hir 1993 novel, Stone Butch Blues, changed my life. When I first came out, Stone Butch Blues connected me to queer history, butch culture, and an understanding of gender non-conformity and non-binary identities as timeless—it gave me a sense of belonging. At the time when I felt most isolated, it was a comfort to know that there were others like me. There is power in knowing you are not alone.

Where do you imagine the state of Pride to be at 100?

When I imagine the 100th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, I think of the world that Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie and so many others dreamed of when they threw those first bricks: inclusive and vibrant and proud. I imagine a world where trans women of color are no longer at risk of violence, where youth are not subjected to the discredited practice of conversion therapy, and where queer people can’t get fired for their identity. Where gender is embraced, where pronouns are respected, and where love is celebrated. I imagine a world where each and every queer young person feels supported and safe in their families, their schools, and their communities.

When you have moments of fear—and it happens to all of us—what do you do? Where do you turn?

In my moments of fear and vulnerability, I turn to our history. To me, it’s immensely comforting to know that there has been a multitude of people who came before me, who fought for my right to live my life openly and unapologetically. It’s a reminder that there is a growing number of people beside me now, pushing forward towards our collective liberation. And it’s a reminder that, with our continued hard work, there will be a future where queer and trans youth are fully embraced for who they are.

And to any young person reading this: in those moments of fear, The Trevor Project is here for you 24/7. Everyone deserves support, and no crisis is too big or too small to reach out to us.

You’ve been a vocal advocate of adding a transgender option to the census. What do you say to wary members of the community who fear that would jeopardize their safety or violate their privacy?

The coming out process is unique for everyone because it’s shaped by a number of things, like their comfort level, feelings of safety, environmental factors, and more. People sometimes make a choice not to come out, and it’s totally okay if they aren’t ready. Nobody should feel pressured to come out publicly if they don’t feel comfortable or safe doing so.

What’s the single greatest satisfaction you’ve gotten working with The Trevor Project?

The most incredible part of my job is the opportunity to speak with our dedicated, passionate, and empathetic volunteers. Every month, our volunteers take time out of their busy lives to directly support youth in their most vulnerable moments. For many of us, including myself, it can be hard to feel hopeful during this divisive and difficult time.

Being able to speak with potential volunteers ready to pick up the phone to support young people is a joy and a privilege, and it’s what makes me excited to wake up and go to work each and every day.

Through June 30, 2019, Macy’s will donate $2 of the purchase price of these t-shirts and socks to The Trevor Project. And if you round up your in-store purchases through June 17, the extra change will go to Trevor Project.

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