'Trans women are women, period': Durham transgender woman says Women's History Month should include all women

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Born a boy, by the age of seven, Vanity Deterville knew certain parts of her body didn't belong to her. She shared the secret with her grandmother.

"I told her at a very young age. Sometime in elementary school, I believed it would be easier if I could live like a woman. She told me she didn't think anything was wrong with it," said Deterville.

Women's History Month celebrates the many contributions women have made to society throughout history, however, some question if the month is all-inclusive to transgender women.

"The question has brought people into the conversation and it's being decided actively right now I think. Some of us have claimed that already for ourselves. Some of us are waiting to be included and brought up to tables so they can voice themselves," said Deterville.

The 27-year-old transgender woman always knew she was a girl. Several years ago, she transitioned to her true self, which was an emotional roller coaster creating distance between her and her family.

"Relationships are on the mend now. They go through peaks and valleys. My mother and I; sister and I; are at a place, now, we haven't been in years. It feels great," said Deterville.

It's a story that often goes untold. Transgender women bearing the emotional burden of society not accepting them for who they are. Equality North Carolina is working to change the narrative. The organization held a virtual women's history panel celebrating transgender women across the state.

" We cannot live in a community that thinks they can other people and define what womanhood is," said NC Equality Executive Director Kendra Johnson. "Trans women are women, period. When we celebrate women, we celebrate all women. "

That includes Deterville, who is a self-proclaimed leader in the local queer- and transgender community that's forging her own lane and educating others along the way.

"We should be celebrated simply because since we're human we automatically coexist in communities with each other," said Deterville.
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