Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mia Yamamoto - A Transgender Heroine

I loved learning about Mia Yamamoto!

A transgender woman, MIA YAMAMOTO was born Michael Yamamoto in Poston Relocation Camp, Arizona, 1943. She graduated Cal State University with a B.S. in government in 1966. As Michael, she was struggling with her gender identity and decided to join the Army, in which she served from 66-68. She was awarded many medals such as the National Defense Service medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Vietnam campaign medal.

After the army she went back and attended UCLA’s school of law, where she co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Law student association. In 1984 she opened her own practice, and has been working as a lawyer ever since. As a lawyer Mia was finally able to afford therapy, and then began her journey of self discovery and affirmation as a trans woman. However, she was only able to find negative representations of the transgender community. Mia tried to find her way through her transition with the arts, learning to dance and play music. She also came to the realization that it was up to her to make a change and difference for the transgender community.

You can go here to watch a five-minute excerpt of Mia's oral history testimony. In Mia's own words:

"You gotta to fight for your future sometimes. And it's worth it. I think it can be an exhillarating, uplifiting, and liberating experience, to fight for yourself. Because once you do, basically you're fighting for everyone like you. And that's worth doing."

Thank you Mia, for sharing your story! And thanks to The Lavender Effect for preserving Mia's place in our LGBTQ history!

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