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00:01:03 - Introductions

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Partial Transcript: Clara T: Asheville is a city, I suppose a very friendly city overall. It's a very friendly environment generally. And I've had, I guess, I got a lot more glares, et cetera, in other cities. Again, I don't want to make it sound like Asheville is, perfect, et cetera, because it's not, but it genuinely, it's one of those things you don't really
realize it until you leave and you go somewhere else and you're like, "Oh, nobody smiles and everyone's just kind of a jerk. Why is this?" And then you come back and you're like, "Oh it's cause I'm used to this."
Heidi F:Yeah. That is something we've talked a lot about of Asheville's just really nice. We've joked about me not loving southern culture and you say "No, I love it because everyone's so nice to each other." And I've, I've argued a lot that I think that's just Asheville because people, you'll just be walking on the side of the street and someone will be like, "I love your hair, I love your vest." And it's weird because I'm not used to drive by compliments like that are genuinely nice compliments and not cat calling. So it's something that took me on a hot second to get used to. People are just, they really, like you said, they're just really nice.

Keywords: Acceptance; Asheville, NC; Coming Out; First Pride; Michigan; Mountains; Sylva, NC; Transgender; Transition; University of North Carolina at Asheville

00:10:07 - Involvement with Local LGBTQ+ Organizations

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Partial Transcript: Clara T: I would say the closest I've come is the trans health care clinic at WNC CHS. When I was initially transitioning, that was amazing because it was really great to be able to go somewhere and actually get hormones, et cetera, and get them efficiently and quickly and without a ton of questions asked. That was really good. That'd be my only one really. I don't really do organizations or anything like that.

Keywords: Asheville, NC; Durhamn, NC; High School; Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT); Raleigh, NC; Representation; Transgender; Transgender Health Care

00:14:25 - Building a Support Network in Asheville

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Partial Transcript: Heidi F.: And I remember my friend Ashay who was with me, she laughed and was like, "They know," and I was like, "Shit, you're right." And I regret never going up to the booth because I got anxiety. So I never ended up going to the club. But later I was talking to a friend, saying if I went to, I think it was Ashay again. I think I was like, "If I join this club, would you join with me?" Because it was like a QSA situation. So even though she's straight, she could join. And I was like, that would be less scary than just going alone, and she was like, "Hell yeah. When you want to go?" And long story short, it took me a hot second to realize she thought I meant a club, because we have a gay club in Asheville that's a clubbing club, not a school club. So that was a fun little miscommunication, and nothing really ever came of that. So I think honestly though, I don't regret how it worked out, because like you were saying, I think you kind of gravitate towards people whether you know it or not. And I think especially through you, I've met a lot of people that have really put down a lot of roots in Asheville.

Keywords: Clubs; Coming Out; Family; Friends; High School; Identity; Queer Straight Alliance; UNCA; University of North Carolina at Asheville

00:19:54 - Personal Identities

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Partial Transcript: Clara T: I would say... It's interesting, because I am bi, and I feel like... I guess that's not, most of the time, a notable... I don't know. I don't think about that really though. That's not a part of my identity that really- It's a thing, but it's just kind of background and much more relevant to me in my day to day is the fact that I'm trans. And I've a really weird relationship with that one, because genuinely, I wish I could forget, I wish that day to day I could just move on with the fact. But I can't, it's a day to day thing that I am confronted with from when I wake up and look in the mirror to being called, sir, when you think that you're having a great passing day anyway.

Heidi F: Right. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Identity stuff, that has been a long theme with myself. I'm one of those people who's like, "I don't like labels. I don't know." But it's true. I identify as queer, because I know I like girls, obviously. I think some guys are hot, but I honestly feel like a lot of times it's I just like what I like
and I don't feel like there's a divide, which I know is fitting under the pansexual identity.

Keywords: Bisexual; Dating; Gay; Pansexual; Passing; Queer; Trans; Transgender

00:28:55 - Experiences as a Couple

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Partial Transcript: Heidi F:Yeah. That's a whole separate story though. I remember a very prominent thing that sticks out of a moment where I remembered, "Oh fuck, this is not ..." I think as being a gay youth you hear a lot of stories of having to hide it and having to do it for your own safety. And growing up both in cities, fairly liberal cities, we've had the privilege of not having to feel that. But I remember one time we were driving back to Raleigh and we had to stop at a gas station, and I remember we had people looking at us. There were times where
you'll be like, "Everyone's looking at us," And I'm like, "I don't think so." But yeah, the whole gas station, I felt like had their eyes on us. A person came over, and we were both standing outside while she was pumping gas, and a dude comes up and he says, "Hey, are you trans?" And my blood turned ice cold. I was so scared in that moment. I remember just freezing, because I was on the other side of the car fucking around or something, because me, and I was hearing that and I froze and my mind is like, "Am I about to have to pull her into the car to get out of here? Am I about to have to fight someone or call the cops." I didn't know what I was going to do, to be honest.

Keywords: Anxiety; Asheville, NC; Dating; Dysphoria; Gay Couple; Lesbian; Relationship; Trans

00:44:29 - Frequent Interactions as a Trans Woman

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Partial Transcript: Clara T: Yeah. You can tell generally. And yeah, it sucks in the moment and it gives me like, "Okay, am I safe here? Is there any other threat?" Which it's usually not. I think that's more just, I guess, being safe and habit, not anything else, because I've never actively been assaulted. Genuinely, I have a privilege as a white trans woman and not a trans woman of color there, because there are a couple situations that I've been like, "Okay, genuinely, if I'd had more cards stacked against me ..." But I have that happen fairly regularly. That's a couple of times a week. No, that's probably, I want to say at this point, probably once a week-ish or a little less. It used to be a lot. When I initially started transitioning it was a lot more, but the sort of force of habit there ...I'm rambling. I would say for the most ... It was how often, right? That was your ... Genuinely, I can only think of a handful of times someone has directly come up and said something like that, that has been a direct call out. I can think of a lot of times someone's been like, blah, blah blah, "Can I get that for you, sir?" Long deliberate pause, or made offhand comments around me that they definitely were making sure I could hear or et cetera, but directly having someone come up and be like, "Hey, you," I do think that's probably a show of generally where I live. Asheville is a very liberal town and genuinely, where we're at culturally, but most people, even if they have that bias, don't feel necessarily comfortable doing more than a passing act that they can claim a lack of intent behind.

Keywords: Dysphoria; Misgendering; Trans; Transgender; Transphobia

00:51:20 - Coming Out Stories

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Partial Transcript: Heidi F: I remember when I first came out I thought I was bi. Throughout the first or second semester of my freshman year in high school, it was a slow coming out to a bunch of different people, most of which who I didn't think would be a big deal and weren't. I don't have too many fun stories, because a lot of it was like, "Yeah, okay." Which I think is honestly the best reaction. They don't make the most fun stories, but it is probably the nicest reaction of like, "Yeah, okay, that's normal. Sure." The big one was coming out to my family. So my parents, I wasn't worried when I came out, which I'm extremely thankful for my family. I remember, it's kind of funny, my mom and dad, I think they were born late '60s, and they both grew up in South Carolina, so they have really every excuse to be bigots, and they weren't.

Keywords: Bisexual; Bullying; College; Coming Out; Family; Homeschool; Parents; Siblings; Trans

01:12:58 - First Time in a Queer Space

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Partial Transcript: Heidi Finemore: That was something that I feel like I've always really, up until Asheville, I had a hard time really identifying with being, gay or not really identifying, but identifying with the community around it, because I don't know. I don't think there was a lot of opportunity, and the opportunities I had were, the Queer NC group didn't work out because multiple things. I had an accident, but also that moment where I feel like my previous identity kind of trapped me in that and pushed me away from that group, and moving forward, I just didn't have the opportunity. So I think that colored my view of high school.

Keywords: Bullying; High School; Middle School; Pride

01:22:30 - Connections Fostered by the LGBTQ Community/ Reflections on Personal Growth and Awareness

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Partial Transcript: Heidi F:Yeah. I met a lot of fucking people who I, just a lot of people, a lot of different backgrounds like the, you said, and I genuinely think that, I don't know if it's the fact that I'm queer or if it's just Asheville, but I've had to reassess a lot of stuff that I didn't think I had, because in Raleigh, I'm super Liberal. Up here, I'm super Centrist, and it's been this weird push of like, it's weird being the Conservative one, especially like, my family, you know.
Clara T:Yeah, like, are you even a communist?
Heidi F:Right. Like, my family never raised me on politics. They raised me on morals. So the philosophy I grew up with was, "You should try to be a good person and accommodate everybody being okay, and try and helping out everyone. Leave people better when you leave them than when you find them." So I was super used to being this very morally Liberal person who's like, "No, racism is bad. Homophobia is bad," and I laugh at it now, because I kind of, I'm glad that there's a big movement now to criticize the whole White feminism and very, the privileged talking over the underprivileged for nothing but moral righteous
points. But I feel like that's a lot of what I was growing up and I try not to be now, but I feel like sometimes I am.

Keywords: Community; LGBT Community; Trans; Trans Community; Transgender

01:28:55 - Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community

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Partial Transcript: Genuinely, I think there's thing to what Heidi was saying that, I don't know LGBTQ people in general who don't struggle with a variety of self harm addictions that are like, basically, everyone fits the bill in one way or another. But also for everyone I know, and I know the story behind, it's not generally identity that triggers it.
Heidi F:Yeah, a lot of people, it's bullying, and it's hard to say where bullying starts for one issue and stops for another.
Clara T:Well, also, I think it's, there's an element to that, and I know. People are like, I can't, mine is completely unrelated to that. I mean, okay, I take that back. There was also bullying, et cetera, which did that tie-in, but I think weirdly, a lot of it is like, it ties back to the, you don't see a path- It ties back to the, you don't see a path through and you don't have people and archetypes and things that you relate to and so-
Heidi F:You feel alienated.

Keywords: Alcohol; Anxiety; Austism Spectrum Disorder; Drugs; Mental Health; Suicide; Therapy

01:39:36 - Support Needs for Western North Carolina's LGBTQ+ Community

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Partial Transcript: Clara T: It did leave a cultural mark, it's true. I am afraid every time I use the bathroom, public bathroom.
Heidi F:Yeah, it was statement to bigots, that bigotry is okay. And I think honestly, whether or not the legalities there, I think there's a feeling of power over people that hasn't dissipated.
Clara T:I do think really culturally is, a cultural shift is the biggest thing. And that's low and that's not something that we can say like, "We need to do X, Y, Z." That's not a thing that we can set up groups or funds or et cetera to propagate or plush. And I do think we're getting more accepting over time. Again, I think a lot of the things that... I mean, neither of us have the most I guess riveting or whatever stories of... But I think that's notable, because we are seeing a cultural shift and genuinely older people in our position wouldn't have the same story as we do.

Keywords: Bathroom Bill; HB2; Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT); House Bill 2; Trans; Trans Community; Trans Health Care

01:43:46 - Favorite Stories as a Couple

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Partial Transcript: Heidi F:Oh, yeah. That's a dumb one. I've been out for seven years. Six last year, right? Yeah, six last, no wait, no, that's this year. Oh, my God. Now, I've been out for seven years, because it was this spring time was good. Anyway, my parents know I'm gay and it's not something I'm adult cagey about. But I also don't like talking on the phone. That's not a gay thing, that's just a me thing. And so I was like, "I'm not going to tell my parents that I'm dating Clara for no other reason than I didn't really want to do that phone call." And
I knew if I told them, I would get a phone call.
Clara T: I kept asking you if you told them.
Heidi F:We had that weird moment of like, "Have you told your parents yet?" "No, not yet babe." Not because it was a secret or anything. But basically, because I was lazy and I don't think at the time I was comfortable enough to just tell you it's because I didn't want to make a phone call. It was this weird situation of, "No, I promise." "Yes, I'm out. It's good, they're chill." I just I don't want to make that phone call, because I don't like phone calls. And then, I did get home and I was like, "Hey, so I'm dating Clara." And got a unanimous... No, actually it was really funny. I told my parents this, because they were all sitting in the room, because I was just back from college. And they'll fit say my brother, my parents were there. And they were like, well, I was like, "I'm dating Clara." And my mom turns to my dad and points at him very sharply lingoes, "I told you." Because apparently I gushed a little when I told them about this supper pretty cool classmate who's super smart and teaching me modeling at nauseum. And so
that was a very cute thing. And then of course my mom was me like, "Why didn't you tell us earlier? I definitely knew this. How long have you been together? When do I get a meet her?
Very, excited." That was pretty funny.

Keywords: Dating; Family; Gay Couple; Parents; Relationship

01:52:22 - Finding Satisfaction in Life

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Partial Transcript: Heidi F: But I would sit there and I would write, I would tell stories for her and I remember I would stop sometimes and just, she would like wait a second and then open her eyes and be like, "Shut up. No, keep going." Saying shut up, because she was mad that I had stopped. And when I said certain things, I could get this reaction or that and it was just a one on one story time that I was very much writing or not writing, but telling for her. And honestly, if I had to pick a happy place, that would be it.I think that's what I took away is that stories can bring a lot of joy to people and making people happy, it's good. Not to be trite.

Keywords: Advice; Art; Personal Communication; Poetry; Story-telling