Someone You Should Know: Helping the transgender community
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Stephanie Marty is a transgender woman, who made the transition a few years ago.
“I had a new family practice doctor who in her clinic notes wrote, he wants to be a female. And I never really thought of it that way. But in effect, that’s what you were becoming. So it was very long process after that. It took four years before I got surgery. I transitioned physically at the end of 2019,” said Stephanie.
The Sioux Falls native and retired bank examiner, knows first hand, life isn’t always easy for a transgender person.
“If you look at suicide rates for transgender folks, depending on what you read, the number is somewhere over 30 percent. The public perception, what we have to deal with everyday, is really difficult in that whether it’s using the bathroom, or just talking to people, or meeting people, and watching their behavior. It all has a negative connotation to it. We are at the bottom of the totem pole, where hate meets the road,” said Stephanie.
So Stephanie got involved in the Transformation Project, an organization dedicated to helping transgender youth, and young adults in the region.
“I started sending out messages on social media. Mostly social media, and through contacts in Sioux Falls. Just started collecting clothes. We’ve got kids from four years old, and service folks up to 35. So size 4T all the up to 5X. They can’t just walk into a store, more specifically transgender women, because if not getting bad service. It’s being kicked out. They’re in the wrong department, and people just don’t treat them nicely,” said Stephanie.
It started with Stephanie giving those clothes away from her Sioux Falls home.
“I printed business cards with my name, and address, and phone number. And kids were passing cards to kids, and I would get calls day and night. You know, I start a job tomorrow, and I’ve got no clothes for work,” said Stephanie.
Eventually she outgrew her place. So now, Marty’s Closet is at a Sioux Falls church, where people can reach out through the Transformation Project’s website.
“Now we’ve got one on one with a stylist. They make appointments to come in a specific time spend two hours with a stylist and leave with a weeks worth of clothes. I was one person trying to help kids survive. Now there’s a whole bunch of people that are doing styling for transgender folks, men and women, children, whatever, and we’re actually hiring someone to take care of the closet It’s expanded beyond belief,” said Stephanie.
It’s Stephanie’s dream to make it so much more, one day.
“We’ve got to think bigger. It’s not just clothes. It’ a place where for kids that have been kicked out of their house, at least live transitionally until they can get their feet on the ground. So you are talking about bedrooms and bathrooms, and a kitchen. When given the opportunity with the right set of clothes, they’re just happy. You can see the joy in their faces in finding something that makes them whole. And I guess that’s the most important part. How can we develop that piece of them, when so much of the world is against them,” said Stephanie.
To make an appointment, or donate clothes, go to transformationprojectsd.org.
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