How would you feel if you were misgendered? Well, Tashan Lovemore felt angry, confused, and embarrassed after he was referred to as “she” and “girl” by an old classmate after she watched him be featured in Verizion & PFLAG's new commercial, "Love Calls Back".
Ironically, the commercial displayed families who grew apart due to their loved ones transitioning.Their decision to transition caused their loved ones to no longer call or speak to them. In the commercial Tashan spoke with conviction to his brother, begging for love, acceptance, and acknowledgement. Connected by a Verizon phone, they mended their relationship by showing family support is only a call away.
Tashan is a Brooklyn, NY native who is also a trans activist, model and poet. Starting his self alignment at 27, he became one of the founders of Black Trans TV, a safe zone that advocates self love and self care experiences for everyone (i.e. trans, cis). He and Sir Knight (Co-Founder) assist others by sharing their personal stories on Instagram for Warrior Wednesdays and YouTube on Mondays. Warrior Wednesdays is a segment on Black Trans TV's Instagram where Tashan and Sir Knight rotate to individually share their opinion on a variety of different topics.
Recently during a Warrior Wednesday episode, Tashan recalled that he was at work when he got a friend request notification from an old classmate along with a direct message saying, “Oh My God Girl, I’m So Proud Of You Sis!”. The classmate was attempting to congratulate Tashan after seeing him star in the commercial.
Tashan however is a proud advocate of handling the incorrect reference in a nonchalant and peaceful way.
"In high school, I didn't present as my authentic self today", Tashan explained as he read the shocking message prior to a presentation his boss was making at work.
We asked Tashan how he felt about being misgendered, “I don’t know if she went off the fact that she knew me and disregarded what the commercial talked about, I don’t know. She wasn’t paying attention, that’s how I take it, we weren’t even friends on that platform, she looked for me under my new name so how’d you find me? That’s why I didn’t accept her friend request”.
“Everyone handles misgendering differently and your not about to steal my joy. I also suggested her doing her research if she really wants to learn more about how I present myself now.”
Feeling as if the associate didn't accept Tashan's s new presentation of life, we wanted to know what he personally thought of Verizon and how they viewed him as a man of trans experience while filming the commercial.
When asked if he felt Verizon supported transgenders, he responded, “I wouldn’t say yes, because I had a separate conversation with the man behind the scenes; but they were pushing for it to be seen. You see the impact this has. I wouldn’t say ally, but this was beyond just pride. I want to believe that Verizon does support the transgender community in hope they’d hire associates of LGBT."
Of the three minutes that the commercial aired some parts however were not fully shown in the scene between Tashan and his biological brother on TV. What was shown was the emotional break of Tashan and his brother finally talking since his transition and other families in similar situations.
Tashan described to us how he felt during taping, “There was friction that was cut out, because if your going to misgender me, I’m not going to be there. It’s going to lower my frequency, and I am not feeding into that energy."
Tashan and his brother in Ohio, Estobon Hart, have had a communication bond that went silent for about 3 or 4 years. Now they have reconciled, and though the Lovemore family isn’t tight knit, he still feels the commercial was very effective.
Tashan shared his personal feelings about the commercial and opened up by saying, “A lot of people told me it was heartfelt. A lot of times when things aren’t around them, they ignore them. So now that it’s in their face, they say 'oh this is what’s going on?'. We are real people. People of trans experience actually going through things. It hurts me that people I know are watching completely missed the message."
Tashan also recalls his own family having personal thoughts about transgender people, so he distances himself from certain members who make him feel uncomfortable.
Tashan's word of advice for any trans person who is starting their own personal journey is, “Don’t use the language of passing. Don’t feel pressure to do anything you don’t want to. You don’t have to look or do anything a certain type of way. You are the man you say you are, and when you walk in your truth everything else will follow”.
Gaye's let's all support our fellow trans brother's and sisters on their personal journeys. Be sure to follow Tashan @tashan_lovemore, and follow Black Trans TV on Instagram @blacktranstv.