My name is Keandre and I’ve lived in the SF Bay Area since I was born. I’ve been involved in music, writing, art, and film through different programs in the community throughout my life and the experiences that I’ve had pursuing these interests have helped open my mind to all kinds of different perspectives and identities – including introductions to gay, trans, and gender non-conforming communities in San Francisco and the East Bay Area. I came out as trans masculine in 2015 – between sophomore and junior year in high school – and, typically, the community I’ve been raised in has made an effort to be accepting of my identity as a trans masculine person, but there is no guarantee that I won’t be subjected to more prejudice, more challenges, and more adversity in the spaces that I am in every day. I’ve experienced this first hand in school, where I was subjected to stares and rumors as a student in the beginning stages of transitioning, in the workplace, where I’d have to out myself reluctantly during interviews and to each of my coworkers just to obtain things like schedules and paychecks with my legal name attached, and in my extended family, to whom I’d delay coming out to – or even speaking to – so that I didn’t have to deal with the misguided prejudices associated with being transgender and the constant invalidation of my identity. Facing these challenges can get you down very quickly, and I battled through depression and self-esteem issues as a teen because of it. Navigating through all these situations has been tough, but my personal community -including close friends, others I’ve met in the LGBT+ community, and immediate family – has been incredibly supportive since I began my transition and I think this is because they truly understand and value this part of my identity. What I needed throughout all this was to be understood in my trans identity rather than challenged because of it and, in the community I’ve built for myself, I’ve received that kind of understanding. I’ve been in spaces that ignore my identity and discredit my challenges and I’ve been in spaces that only tolerate my identity, and what these spaces are lacking is empathy and acceptance in place of tolerance and ignorance. I don’t want my life to be seen as having value in spite of my trans masculine identity, I want my life to be respected as a trans masculine person! That is as a trans man who’s faced adversity, a trans man who has dreams and ambitions, a trans man who has friends and family and loved ones, a trans man who’s a student, an artist, a musician, and an activist. All I ask is that society sees all these different aspects of myself as a trans person and understands that me and others like me deserve an equal space in it.