The Translife Center opening in Chicago has some high profile supporters in Lana Wachowski and her partner Karin Winslow. Lana, herself a transgender woman, speaks in an interview with Red Eye Chicago about her support of the center and its mission as well as her own journey with being transgender.
How did you learn about the TransLife Center?
We live in Lakeview and see the problem [of homeless LGBT youth] every day. We decided that we needed to do something to try to get involved. We started looking into services that help, and lot of them seemed like they weren’t broad enough in their approach to the problem. Right about then we got a letter from Stan Sloan [executive director of Chicago House]. It was a beautiful letter and he wanted to get involved.
Why did you want to support the center’s efforts?
[Sloan] stressed that it wasn’t about just getting them off the streets, getting them out of sight, as if out of sight, out of mind. Right away he said it wasn’t about just offering them a place or a bed but making sure they had medical and legal counsel and access to training programs and stuff like that. We went through all the details and I remember when we were first talking about it we said hopefully his will feel like a safe and supportive environment, hopefully it will feel like a home. I think Stan’s approach is revolutionary and I’m hoping that it spreads to other cities the way that he’s approaching it. It’s very human, and it’s nurturing.
How has your experience coming out as a transwoman informed your view of this issue?
I was really blessed to have a very loving and supportive family, but I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost important relationships, the pain of being rejected for who you are, it’s hard and it hurts. I was incredibly lucky; my family put their arms around me right away and they were very supportive, very kind, very loving. And that’s I guess really why I keep reaching out, because of them, because I know I have to put my arms around the people who were not as fortunate as I’ve been.