Meet Zach, a transgender male and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ and disabled community, He shares the challenges he has faced from finding love to accessing gender affirming surgeries, while also managing debilitating disabilities, such as CRPS, POTS, Von Willebrand’s Disease, GAD, MDD, Autism, etc.
Continue reading to learn more about Zach's journey.
Can you share a personal story or insight about the unique challenges and triumphs you've faced as someone who identifies with both the LGBTQ+ and disability communities?
Due to the fact that I am both physically disabled and part of the LGBTQ+ community, there are a number of challenges that I’ve had to overcome. As someone who is a transgender male and also gay, it’s been difficult to find a romantic partner, because I’m not always perceived as a man.
The gender affirming surgeries that I need are currently inaccessible due to financial and medical contradictions. On top of being both FTM and gay, it’s difficult to maintain partnerships overall due to my debilitating disabilities. It often feels like a partner wouldn’t be able to handle me with all of my medical struggles alone, and that is a very hard pill to swallow.
What do you wish more people understood about the experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals with disabilities?
I want more people to understand that being in two or more marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ+, disability, POC, etc. communities, that, even when we individually unite, there is still a lot of gatekeeping within each community. The whole ordeal becomes a giant hypocrisy.
I also feel that both LGBTQ+ and POC members don’t get nearly enough representation in the disability community. Doctors are also a lot less likely to take someone seriously with disabilities if they are part of the LGBTQ+ and/or POC communities.
Especially with transgender folks that take hormones and require surgeries (such as myself), having disabilities can, and does, impact how we receive gender-affirming care.
What advice or message of hope would you like to share with others who may be navigating their identities within the Pride disability community?
As always, be your authentic self. You are worthy and deserving of love.
This one is really important: Advocate for yourself! Being a part of two marginalized communities which are very falsely portrayed in the media, you have to be able to speak up for yourself and do what is right for YOU. Even if somebody tries to pressure you out of it - you are way stronger than they are.
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