#Pepper Laughington has seen a lot over the years. Laughington, a former Manager at Ford Canada, who lives in Calgary, Alberta has chosen a daring and rewarding path: that of changing one's gender. Much like Caitlyn Jenner and Janet Mock, Laughington has a lot to say about Mr. Tump's reversal of protections of transgender rights that were established by the Obama Administration. Laughington spoke recently about her opinions on Trump policies and experiences she's had since becoming trans.

The interview

Q - You recently gave a presentation, at the Women's Centre of Calgary, about your life as a woman of Trans experience. When you speak, what do you hope to get across to your audience?

A - What I hope to get across to my audience is that transgender individuals only want to be allowed to live their lives and enjoy the same freedoms and equality as everyone else.

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We don't have that equality today, and we still have higher unemployment, higher rates of crime against us, and higher rates of homelessness and poverty.

Q - When did you realize you were Trans?

A - The question should be "Why would you still want to transition?" It's so that we can feel comfortable in our own skin. The rewards outweigh the risks.

The Transgender community versus Trump

Q - What's your take on Mr. Trump's recent reversal of Obama's protections that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice?

I read about an order that President Trump's Regime is writing; [it says] as a Trans Person, if I go into a place of business, the proprietor can refuse me service because of their religious beliefs. This will be legal, and a very hard law to fight. All the advancement that has been made is being ripped up by the roots.

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Q - Have you experienced a negative backlash for being Trans?

A- As a Trans Person, that is to be expected. It did cost me my employment; I was with the company nine years and in my occupation 30 years. My older sister and younger brother won't talk to me any longer. Nieces, nephews and many friends simply disappeared.

Q - Is Canada more progressive than the U.S. when it comes to transgender rights?

A - [Canadians] have gender identity and gender expression in our human rights laws, Federally and Provincially; so yes, Canada is ahead of the USA. There are still areas that can be improved. We only have two gender specialists for the whole of Alberta. I say 100% Trump is not our friend. All the headway made in the USA can be knocked back to Stonewall [protests by the LGBTQ community in New York City in June 1969] if he passes the Religious Freedom Act.

Q - What's your day job?

A - At the moment my day job is looking after me. When I lost my job, I said I was taking a year off; that was April 29, 2016.

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I'm unsure if I will go back in the car industry or go into managing retail fashion.

Role models and advice for the transgender community

Q - Do you have transgender role models?

A - I can think of Janet Mock---a very classy lady. Then I think of Gavin Grimm, who is going before the Supreme Court because he wants to use the men's washroom at school. This young man speaks with reason, even in the face of angry protesters. [Grimm is an example of] regular people who want to promote equality. For me they are role models all transgender folk should follow and support.

Q - What advice would you give to someone deciding to come out as Trans?

A - My advice to someone coming out Trans is this: first, research, research, research. Read about what others are going through and how they feel. Next, find a support group online or in your community. Go at your own pace, and as you start to transition enjoy the ride.

Three points are critical: 1. Make sure you have good mental health. 2. Stay away from negative people, especially transgender people that are negative. 3. Develop a strong support group because you are going to lose people and you need to replace them. You will need [people to support you] because you are about to embark on a journey you cannot do alone. #trump administration