Visibili-T is dedicated to transgender members of our community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, some you know and many you don’t. It is designed to amplify their voices and detail their experiences in life.
This issue, we check in with Dandelion Hill, a nonbinary trans activist and social worker from the Orlando area.
Coming out for Hill, 34, cannot be easily defined to one moment in their life. The process took place over time, revealing their story to those they trusted until ultimately they could live their truth publicly. The key to their success came from the support they received.
“I was closeted for much of my formative years and early adulthood, but I am finally allowing myself to explore and create and evolve and it’s so liberating — the key for me is having community, friends and chosen family to share those aspects of myself with unabashedly,” Hill says.
The appreciation that Hill has for their support units shows in the dedication of their work and passion of their activism.
“Most of my time is spent doing care work with Peer Support Space, a collective I co-founded back in 2019 with Yasmin Flasterstein,” they say. “I’m a very restless person and the foreboding issues that impact the wellbeing of myself and my comrades weigh heavily on me — sometimes the heaviness is unbearable, but I find that putting energy into cultivating containers for softness, respite, and care for those us who struggle is my personal way of sustaining myself. Investing energy into creating hubs for healing and solidarity makes my life worth living.”
Hill even takes time to teach others to provide for themselves.
“I also invest my spare time into care work with Blue Trunk Community Network who does magical healing work with gardening, sustainability building and the arts,” they say.
The attention to care does not stop on the community level. Hill also gives importance to self-care.
“I’m also autistic and disabled, so it’s important that I honor my needs and a lot of time that looks like getting into my garden and tending to plants or getting out in nature to ground myself,” they say.
For Hill, the ultimate form of love is spent on their children.
“I’m a parent so I love investing time into the nurturing and development of my little ones,” they say. “In a lot of ways, the work I do in the community is for them — I fight for a world that is better than the one I was born into, for them.”
That dream of fighting for a better world for the community is at the heart of Peer Support Space. The peer-led organization was founded as a support system, “where we use our lived experience to support and hold space for one another as we navigate our unique journeys with life struggles, mental illness and/or substance misuse challenges, neurodivergence, disability, grief, trauma or other obstacles to mental wellness.”
“We are poised to launch a Queer & Peer-led respite this year and it is my intention that it can be a blueprint for one of many to come throughout Florida and beyond — community-centered containers for healing ourselves and supporting one another,” Hill says. “I will likely continue this care work into my foreseeable future; Luna, my daughter at 10 years old has already expressed a hope to continue this history making legacy work one day and I find that really heartwarming and hope inspiring.”
When it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, Hill finds comfort in the level of care the community holds.
“When the world turns on us, we turn toward each other for solace and solidarity. Community care is beautiful and I am always awed by the ways in which our community shows up for one another,” they say.
Hill also believes there are aspects of the community that can be improved upon.
“More gate opening and less gate keeping,” they say. “Building stronger networks by bringing in all folks, making our movement work more approachable and accessible. Community and lived experienced informed resources for support at the front and center, please!”
Hill had this to say when asked to think back on their younger self and any advice they would give them today.
“I grew up in a pretty phobic area with little connection to queer and trans community — at least not explicitly, many were closeted like me I’m sure — I grew up assuming that everyone else around me was also quietly hiding their attraction and interest for all genders out of some sort of social rule. I hid so many parts of myself for safety and I mourn for the loss of joyI could have experienced given the room to flourish and live authentically. I’m still healing my inner child and I want them to know it’s magical to be queer, trans, fluid; binaries cannot contain your expansiveness, you deserve expressiveness, and so much joy!”
Additional reporting by Jeremy Williams.
Interested in being featured in Visibili-T? Email Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams in Central Florida at Jeremy@WatermarkOnline.com or Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent in Tampa Bay at Ryan@WatermarkOnline.com.