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WUSF has been reporting recently on a difficult issue — legislation aimed at transgender persons. To help highlight other stories of the trans, nonbinary and gender noncomforming community, we asked residents what "Trans Joy" means to them. Daylina Miller is sharing their stories.

Trans joy: Living authentically inspires others to do the same

A white person with short brown hair wearing a black button up and yellow bowtie holds up a colorful painting of a person with an 8-ball for a head.
Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media
Ashlee Craft, a Wesley Chapel resident, is a queer artist in Wesley Chapel.

Today we hear from Ashlee Craft, a trans and nonbinary artist in Wesley Chapel, about how living authentically inspires other people to live authentically, too.

"My name is Ashlee Craft, I use they/them pronouns, and I'm an artist, actor, writer, podcaster and overall creator.

Trans joy to me means being myself in a world that a lot of times would rather I didn't. And also working on being myself so that other people can feel comfortable being themselves because, ultimately, like my goal — and everything I create — is that I want people to have fun being themselves.

To be myself, it means to be the kind of person that as a kid, I would have needed in my life. A lot of times, like maybe if I'm going out in public or something, and maybe I feel self conscious about being physically trans in public, but I think about how much it meant to me as a kid and a teenager, as I was closeted, seeing other people being openly queer and openly trans.

That meant the world to me, because one reason it took me so long to come out is I was afraid that if I came out, no one would like me, I would never have a place in the world.

But it meant so much to me, when I would see people being visibly queer and trans. So that gives me the courage sometimes to be visibly queer and trans. Because I think maybe someone will see me that needs to see that.

It's the time for trans people to continue being themselves. It's not a time ... like it's easy to feel defeated in the face of things like that. But it's a time that trans joy's needed more than ever, because that's kind of how you, you know, you can fight that and you can give each other the optimism and courage and stuff to take to fight that because the queer community has been obviously, you know, under attack for years and years and all throughout a lot of history.

So that's what I think it's kind of kept the community going, is continuing to do those things in light of people who'd rather you didn't live the life the way you want to."

Share your trans joy here.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.