TransQueer essay contest adds voice to Pride

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imageIf the pen is mightier than the sword and one voice can create change, Atlanta Pride and TransQueer Nation are onto something. The winner of their “Be Visible” essay contest will speak as a new feature of the annual Pride Trans March.

“Everyone has a chance,” says JP Sheffield, executive director of Atlanta Pride. “We all thought that not only will it enhance the Trans March, but that it opens the door for perhaps a voice we’ve never heard before. That’s pretty exciting stuff.”

The contest asks for any transgender or gender queer take on the theme “Be Visible.” Use your words–600 to 800 of them–to reflect, inspire and, heck, perhaps become more “visible” yourself as a result.

Entries are being accepted by {encode=”[email protected]” title=”e-mail”} through Aug. 6, so get to getting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The winner will be announced Aug. 16 and must be available Oct. 9 to read the winning essay from the Pride stage before the Trans March.

As with any contest there are rules, and yes you have to follow them to qualify your entry. Check out the full scoop on regulations.

Run by Atlanta couple Tristan and Sicily Skye (photo, l-r), TQ Nation is an online private social network for trans, intersex folks, gender queers and their supporters. A “safe” site introduces web surfers to the network so you can get a feel of what they’re all about before applying to be a member of the network.

One thing TQ Nation is all about is inclusivity, so it’s not just for people who identify as “Transgender” or “Gender Queer,” Tristan Skye says.

“We have plenty of spouses/partners and GLB allies on the site and information for them as well,” he says. “We want everyone to know it’s also a place for them. … The support is important on TQ to help those like myself feel the love of the family since we tend to feel misunderstood within our own community. It’s a place to unite us all into the family we need to be.”

The site provides a much-needed portal that is highly interactive, Sheffield adds.

“They are so hands-on and engaged with their members,” he says. “They’re always having contests and discussions. They actively engage people on all kinds of topics, and members really feel like they’re part of something.”

The essay contest was a perfect partnership for both sides, Sheffield says.

“We’re always looking for creative ways to collaborate with our partners, so this is a great way to combine what we do with what TQ Nation does,” he adds. “We were looking for someone to speak before the Trans March and expand that Pride event, they want new ways to interact with their members and reach new ones, so this makes the partnership mean more for both of us.”

Photo by Dyana Bagby for the GA Voice

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