Wednesday, April 27, 2011

San Diegan speaks in Texas on transgender issues; Dallas County votes to add rights

Editor’s note: Chris Tina Bruce recently relocated to San Diego after living for years in the Dallas area. She spoke Tuesday before the Dallas County Commissioners Court, which later voted 3-2 along party lines to add transgender protections to the county’s employment nondiscrimination policy. This is her speech.

Hello, my name is Chris Tina Bruce and I use to reside in Frisco, Texas. Now I reside in San Diego, Calif.

Being transgender is one of my unique characteristics as a person although it does not define who I am. I am a proud parent of two amazing children, a small-business owner, private pilot, bodybuilder, spokesperson and fitness consultant. These are the things that define me.

In 1993 after graduating from Georgia State University I relocated from Atlanta, Ga., and began my career in the building products industry here in Dallas. Then in 1995 I founded a wholesale building products distribution company and by 2003 had eight distribution facilities across Texas employing over 30 Texans with annual sales revenue of over $25 million. During my 20-year career I was consistently recruited by other corporates with many lucrative offers to return back to Atlanta although I turned down every offer because I had found the home I loved in Dallas.

I found Dallas to be an amazing city that offered a wonderful environment to raise a family, develop a business and truly have a happy fruitful life. Unfortunately I did not realize the life of privilege I led as a white, educated, heterosexual male was not extended to all equally.

In 2009 I had the courage to stop hiding a lie and start living a life. I discovered I was given a rebirth. A rebirth of body, mind and spirit. A blessing I could never have believe or even try to explain. Never less a blessing or gift that I will not let sit ideal or under utilized any longer.

This is the very reason I traveled from San Diego, Calif., to be before you today. As my transition progressed in early 2010 I could no longer continue my corporate career as a Regional Sales Manager in the building products industry. No matter that I had been extremely successful for over 20 years it became clear I would be discriminated and judged on my gender not my results.

In the true Texas spirit I regrouped, saddled up and developed a new business based on my passion as a fitness consultant to discover I would be judged as not a good fit based on my appearance.

It took a trip to San Diego, Calif., last year to restore my faith in humanity and discover a place I was not only accepted but embraced. I just relocated to San Diego last month and in the first three weeks I have been on the cover and featured subject of three separate publications. I am accepted as a human being with an extensive corporate and fitness background asset for San Diego and judged on my heart and actions not on my appearance.

Texans are resilient and always a shining star of our great country. I have witness the amazing spirit, determination, and dedication my fellow North Texans can demonstrate once we set a goal. I believe as the leadership for Dallas it your responsibility to set a goal of cultivating change which starts with the addition of transgender identity to this order and I offer myself in any way possible to help.

I truly appreciate the time to speak before you.

Thank you.