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"I would say right from the beginning I knew there was something different about me."

As we celebrate Pride month this June, we honor the incredible accomplishments and the painful struggles of LGBTQ Americans across the country, now and in the past.

Today, I'm thinking of my friend Lincoln County Commissioner Claire Elizabeth Hall. Last week, Claire announced her transition and now identifies as a trans woman.

Claire was born and raised in Portland. Although she was successful in school and extracurricular activities, she felt different, and recalls praying she would wake up as a girl.

For her entire life, she thought that was an impossibility – even after hearing about surgery and others' experiences, she feared that being 6'1" meant that she'd never "pass" for a woman. Would she have to live her entire life as "Bill Hall," never feeling like her true self?

Everything changed in 2017. Claire started taking steps toward embracing her whole self in her outward appearance – painting her nails, piercing her ears, and styling her hair differently. Now, she lives her life as an openly trans woman. I stand with Claire, and all of the trans Americans who face or fear stigma, harassment, and violence every day.

Too often, history is about erasure. Even just a few years ago, Claire's story would never have been told. This Pride month, I'm committing to lifting up the stories of LGBTQ Americans like Claire. They are part of the foundation of this country, and I'll never stop fighting to ensure that they have the rights and freedoms that all Americans deserve.

Ron

Posted on June 18, 2018.

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