During Vermont’s LGBTQ Pride Week in September, Dave Hallquist, CEO of Vermont Electric Co-op, the state’s second largest electric utility, came out as Christine, a transgender woman. Christine Hallquist is the first CEO in America to transition while in her job. In coming out, Christine has opened a window on a transgender journey shared by an estimated 1,400 Vermonters, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. She is using her public position to talk about the challenges faced by transgender people and encourage others to express their true self. She talks about her lifelong struggle keep her secret, her decision to come out, the reaction from her family and colleagues, and the future.
1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Vermont’s domestic violence agencies served nearly 9,000 victims of abuse in 2012 and fielded over 12,000 hotline calls. Janice Santiago talks about her work with Women Helping Battered Women, which assists domestic abuse victims in Chittenden County. She speaks about her own experience with domestic abuse and the face of domestic violence in Vermont today.
“His True Self”: A transgender Vermonter’s story
Jesse Ray Thomas is a 20-year old transgender person in St. Albans who was recently profiled in a moving story by Natalie Handy in the St. Albans Messenger, “His True Self.” Jesse speaks about his challenge growing up transgender in Vermont, the emotional struggles and suicidal thoughts that he and other trans youth often have, and his joy at embracing his true identity.