There was a moment that Charley Burton learned what it means to be a Black man. Two white women on an elevator at work moved to the other end of the cabin. All he could think is that maybe it’s because he is a trans man.
“I’m in AA and I called my sponsor and, lovingly, she said, ‘Congratulations, you’re now a part of the Black man saga,'” he told host Charles Lewis on the In My Humble Opinion podcast. “White people will look at you and see Black man, not trans man. It’s almost like we have to be comfortable in two worlds. We have to be comfortable as a Black man and be comfortable as a trans man.”
Love the podcast? Read Burton’s story here.
When he was 8 years old, Burton would climb the big, brick steps of the Gordon Avenue Library and sneak into the adult section to try to figure out why he felt like a little boy when everyone else knew him as a girl. He tells his story of growing up in Charlottesville, and moving from silence to being a trans advocate.
“For 50 years, I was brought up in this Black church — everything happened in the Black church — I’m there Sunday after Sunday and learning I was going to burn in hell,” said Burton. “When I started thinking about this whole transition, I thought, what is the community going to think about me? Do I have to move away to do this?”
In My Humble Opinion, the Sunday talk show on 101.3FM, launched the podcast series in December, building on the work of Charlottesville Inclusive Media to bring more of our community’s perspectives into critical conversations. The segments are called First Person Charlottesville and folks can hear them by subscribing to In My Humble Opinion on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Charlottesville Inclusive Media is a partnership between the radio program, Vinegar Hill Magazine and Charlottesville Tomorrow.
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