Transgender Atlanta resident advocates for housing equality in new HRC campaign video
EXCLUSIVE: Queen, who is formerly unhoused, is the face of a campaign spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign in association with TheGrio to shine a light on The Equality Act
Queen Hatcher-Johnson doesn’t get into specifics about age but what Queen does remember vividly is the length of time and the hardships of being homeless. It’s something that has ruled Queen’s life since Queen’s teenage years.
“I’ve not only been homeless once but in my 50 plus years on this earth, I can recall experiencing homeless since the age of 16,” Queen tell TheGrio.
The first time Queen dealt with being unhoused came after being ostracized by family who didn’t understand that Queen is transgender. Queen, also doesn’t subscribe to pronouns and simply prefers to be called Queen.
It has taken what some would consider a lifetime to build up a dynasty fit for a queen. For the first time in Queen’s life homelessness has led to homeownership.
Queen currently resides in Atlanta and is the face of a campaign spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign in association with TheGrio to shine a light on The Equality Act. The bill — which seeks to add protections for LGBTQIA+ under federal law — for now sits in the evenly split U.S. Senate after it was passed in February by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
Queen, who has lent an image to this cause before is hopeful that the campaign will be a building block for marginalized communities to be treated fairly and equally.
“I hope that his campaign will serve as the foundation for people to build upon to combat housing discrimination because people who want to be housed should have the ability to see that through and there should be housing equality for all,” Queen says.
Dwelling on Queen’s own life there are constant reminders that the hardships helped to guide Queen to a new place of tranquility, which was not always the case for someone living the trans experience.
“I have lived in men’s shelters and the only good thing about that was that I wasn’t asked to stop my transition but it was not a safe environment for me,” Queen says.
Now safety is a mainstay in Queen’s life as a homeowner. The deed is in Queen’s name but there are times when Queen still feels like it could all go away due to past trauma of being evicted from a living situation because a landlord questioned the transgender flag that hung proudly in the home.
“Because of trauma I still feel like this could all go away but I also feel liberated and a sense of pride and accomplishment now that I’m a homeowner,” says Queen.
Queen hopes that sharing this story of triumph will be the inspiration that someone else might need. The newfound homeowner is delightfully candid and open about life’s hurdles, and even in the darkest of days and the amount of times left homeless, Queen believed that there was a purpose.
“I knew that there was a better way and I’m not sure how but I just knew that I was deserving of more in this life,” says Queen.
The Human Rights Campaign is hoping for more too through the campaign to bring more attention to The Equality Act. A number of promotional videos, some including famous celebrities across multiple mediums, are urging people to get involved by calling members of Congress to pass the legislation that protects LGBTQIA+ Americans.
Kelsey Minor is a two-time Emmy award-winning freelance journalist based in New York City. You can see more of his work on Twitter @theKELSEYminor.
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