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Transgender woman hopes to create awareness (video)

By by camille m. doty/cdoty@vicad.com
Feb. 8, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 8, 2012 at 8:09 p.m.


IF YOU GO

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday

WHERE: Johnson Symposium, Victoria College, 2200 E. Red River St., Victoria

COST: $10, general admission; $5, students and faculty with ID

TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Call Sandy Drozd at 361-582-2530 or email Sandra.Drozd@VictoriaCollege.edu

Gillian Ybabez was born a man, but she now identifies herself as a woman.

As a teenager, Ybabez, now 30, questioned her gender. She thought her feelings would go away, but they never did.

"I thought something was wrong with me," she said.

Ybabez's first images of transgender people were on talk shows like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. However, she doesn't recommend those programs for sexual identity education.

Ybabez wants to help erase the lines of invisibility for her and other transgender people.

"There's a marked lack of awareness in the Crossroads area," she said. "It's like we don't exist."

On Thursday, the Victoria resident will act in "The Vagina Monologues" at the Johnson Symposium at Victoria College to bring awareness of transgender people and their struggles.

In one of the scenes, "They Beat the Girl Out Of My Boy," Ybabez and other actresses talk about potential phases of becoming transgender.

Some of the lines include, "I ached to be pretty," and "They assigned me a sex the day I was born - it's as random as being adopted."

Scene creator Eve Ensler added this part to the show after interviewing transgender women. The scene was first performed in Los Angeles in 2004, almost one decade after the original play.

Performer Lisa DeVries said there was an interest to re-enact the gripping scene.

"Now we have the woman power to do it," she said, adding that the play's component is a much-needed addition to show.

Layna Weber said she has friends who are transgender. At first, she was nervous about the friendships. But the 30-year-old Kerrville native said people shouldn't have to conform to society, but identify with who they are.

"God's loving and caring. I believe that's all inclusive, not exclusive," she said.

In 2008, Ybabez accepted who she was and came out to her sister, who is now deceased.

After accepting herself, the former restaurant worker said a wrong was righted.

She shared the news with the rest of the family on Facebook.

So far, she has taken hormones, but she has not made the legal transition.

Ybabez said she has no immediate plans to have sexual reassignment surgery. Her friends have identified her as a woman, but some of her family has not.

As Ybabez takes center stage for the play, she will come out in a dress and act in three scenes.

She said she wants people to know there are others like her.

"I'm hoping people realize trans people exist," she said.

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