TRANS woman and radio personality Michelle Sheppard has stressed the need for people to listen to each other in a speech at the Surf Coast Shire’s IDAHOBIT (the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia) ceremony.

Speaking at the council chambers in Torquay on May 17, Ms Sheppard said everyone was so worried about difference, and only saw each other on the surface.

“We sometimes don’t even get the chance, we keep on going because we’re in this fast-paced world, and that’s what bothers me.

“We don’t sit down and take the time to listen – we speak and we judge before we listen, and unfortunately, that’s how the situation with the world is at the moment.”

In that spirit, she said people that wanted to be allies of the LGBT community should try to be inclusive.

“It’s more than just gay versus lesbian, or LGBT versus straight, it’s about being an ally for each other.

“So my message about sitting down and listening to each other is not about straights listening to the rest of the rainbow community, it’s about all of us listening to each other.”

Ms Sheppard said there was still a long way to go towards full acceptance for transgender women in society.

“Just because you see marriage equality doesn’t mean things are getting better.

“We need more than just corporate spaces in employment – we need the local fish and chip shop, we need the local Coles and Safeways and everything like that, we need more representation in those spaces.

“We need to see the average me as the checkout chick checking out your groceries, because the media is representing me as a trans woman as a prostitute, as a drug dealer, dealing drugs and going to prison… there’s nothing positive in media for a transgender woman.

“Men see me as a man in a dress, and so do a lot of the women. But at the end of the day, I’m no different – I’m just a parent, I pay my taxes, I pay my mortgage, I go to work and I just try to get through this crazy mess that the rest of you are doing, and you can’t communicate that to anyone, because nobody wants to listen.”

originally published:

Published by mishsheppard

Michelle's powerful combination of self and community shines through the platform of radio which has helped raised the public profile and national dialogue of transgender, gender diverse and intersex issues on a national scale. Surprisingly nothing is off limits with Michelle who connects with her audience brilliantly; obviously through her humor and unapologetic blunt honesty. She is often labelled as an inspiring advocate and role model for youth and adults alike and hers is a powerful story to tell. We know that when a woman has the support of her community, especially her sisters, she is unstoppable. Michelle’s wider support from the women around her, LGBTI+ or ally alike, has helped develop her own unstoppable resilience and body positive confidence that she inspires others with. Now a sought-after public speaker Michelle is admired for her bold public representation of the Transgender community as works to break through the barriers of unconscious bias, cultural and structural issues to ensure equality of opportunity for all Australian work spaces. Winner of the ANZ Excellence in Business Award, ‘LGBTI Jobs’ a relatively new project, they pair LGBTI graduates and jobseekers to companies that embrace inclusion initiatives. “We’ve started a business that helps anybody who’s in the LGBTI Community. We go to companies and see what they are you doing. This isn’t just for me, this is for the entire community and we are going to make a massive change.” Michelle was recently celebrated alongside some truly amazing individuals from our community as part of the ‘The LOTL Power List 2016’ as someone who does everything in their power to make life that little bit better for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities: sometimes with blood, sweat and tears; and sometimes just by being themselves. Michelle is also a finalist for ‘MTV – LGBTI Broadcaster and Presenter’ in the Australian LGBTI Awards 2017. Awards Globe Awards 2016 - ANZ Excellence in Business Award The LOTL Power List 2016 (28/40) Finalist for ‘MTV – LGBTI Broadcaster and Presenter’ in the Australian LGBTI Awards 2017

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