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Being transgender in Michigan

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Negotiating which bathroom to use is very frustrating for some transgender individuals.

Part of the LGBT community is confusing to a lot of straight people and, really, some gay and lesbian people. The "T" in LGBT. Transgender people.

This piece includes the stories of two transgender women. Because their gender can cause confusion, Renee Knipe and Joanna Smith have struggled with things many people don't think about.

Knipe has been barred from using women's restrooms. Joanna Smith, who was once John Smith, is a father. 

"I regret that because for a daughter to have her father is an important thing. But, fathers die and life goes on. The difference for Melissa (her daughter) is that she now has Joanna in her life. And I can do what I can," Smith said.

This story is so powerful when you listen to the voices of these women. Listen to the audio below. 

This segment about transgender individuals in Michigan is part of an investigative documentary called Unequal by Law: Being Gay in Michigan.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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