Volunteer Spotlight – Hen Henry

August 18, 2019 in inQueery

Volunteer Spotlight allows us to highlight the work of our spectacular volunteers that help keep Pacific Center running.  Today’s feature volunteer is Hen Henry.

 

Welcome, Hen!  Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My Name is Hen, preferred pronouns are she/her/they.
How did I get the name Hen? When I was raising a step family, everyone called me Hen which became my nickname for Henry.
When I started transition; I discovered that Hen in addition to being a unique name and a female chicken  🙂 , is also a gender neutral pronoun in Sweden!
It  works well as it can still be short for Henry (male) or Henrie (female) and a gender neutral term. Perfect!
I also run a small business that supports and develops software and technology for ports and railroads which often means work never stops.  But the flexibility with hours allows me to help out at the Pacific Center which is such a gift.
How long have you been with us at Pacific Center?
Since about March of 2019.  I reached out to the Pacific Center as I could not keep Hen in a bottle anymore; I needed a safe space for her, to be free, to be me.
The Pacific Center gave me this incredible gift and more. Not to be too dramatic, but its why I am in such awe of the Pacific Center and to be a part of such a special place; it’s like coming home or meeting the person that saved your life.
The other gift is discovering how good it is volunteer; it is just so rewarding to give back!
What do you like best about your volunteer work?
I try to welcome everyone who visits the Pacific Center. Even if it is just a smile or a wave, it gives me great satisfaction to think that I might be helping someone with their journey and hopefully have them realize how beautiful and lucky they are  to have the gift of being in or supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Some of the kindest people I have ever met are in the rainbow family.
So what do you like to do when you’re not at work or volunteering – do you have any hobbies or favorite things to do locally?
Ever since I was a child, I have loved tinkering with electronics and spinning wrenches on cars. It is so satisfying to fix something, solve the problem! Me and my sons enjoy garage sailing and going to e-waste places to see if we can save something from landfill. Heh, but it can get a little crazy sometimes. I also enjoy running and swimming, it really saved me while I was in the closet as a way to decompress.
I am surprised that transition has allowed me to discover new hobbies too. Old me didn’t like going out much, I do now!  I’m really enjoying pride,  the artistic side of makeup, and the fun of being in the LGBTQ community. I guess there’s always room to learn another hobby!
What do you think are some of the most important LGBTQ issues we should be talking about?
The LGBTQ community has made so much progress. With that said, there is still so much to be done. It bugs me that even today I often  get insulted,  disrespected, or judged by some. This never happened to me before transition. Although I should add there are so many kind loving people which I never expected.
I know it’s a social buzzword, but I want equality. I want our community to not be afraid, to not worry about employment, housing, safety.
I am finally proud of who I am now. Yet, I don’t advertise who I am in some spaces for various safety or economic reasons. We need  to live  in a world where we do not have to worry anymore.
Is there anyone you look to for inspiration?  Who inspires you?
People that come out. People that put everything on the line (job, family, dignity) to live authentically. We see them in the media, we see them in daily life around us. Please be kind to them, they are my heroes! I also love our LGBTQ+  allies; they have huge hearts, we could not do this without their support.
I should also add, some of the most inspirational people I see are those that walk through the Pacific Center. They are  brave enough to open the door and admit to themselves who they are. That first step didn’t happen for me until I was  40 years old.
We are certainly glad you are here!  Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m grateful to those that were or are close to me. Even though we are going in different directions and are in different living situations now; we are making it work.
My two sons age 10 and 12 have had to adjust a lot to these changes; I am so thankful that they and others close to me have accepted Hen and Henry.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Hen – we look forward to seeing you at the front desk!