Editors note: Rashida Davison requested neutral pronouns be used to represent both the female and male attributes of Davison’s gender identity.
Rashida Davison always knew social justice would be a part of their life; what Davison didn’t know is that work would start immediately.
The 24-year-old started fighting for transgender visibility and rights during their first LGBTQ community meeting at Ohio State University in 2008, and they haven’t stopped. Now, Davison serves as TransOhio’s outreach and engagement coordinator as well as an advocate for transgender people of color, acting as both a voice for the trans community and a catalyst for positive change.
“I came to OSU in search of an active LGBTQ community. But at the first meeting, I was the only trans person in the room and the only black person,” Davison said. “I had to decide: Either I was going to find an active community of trans people of color or I was going to create it.”
Davison became involved with SHADES, an organization dedicated to LGBTQ students of color at Ohio State.
“I pretty much fell into it. As soon as I put the word out that I wanted to bring a group for the LGBTQ people of color together, people came to me saying they wanted to do the same thing,” Davison said. “It was like everybody was just waiting for somebody to speak up.”
Davison would go on to work for Equality Ohio, and eventually land at TransOhio, where Davison hopes to foster a community among transgendered people, educate transgender allies through public discussions, and address national issues the transgender community faces, like healthcare access and transgender-friendly work environments.
“It isn’t just about passion, it’s the effort I put [into] things,” Davison said. “I joke with my dad all the time that if I want something done, it’s going to happen.”