#QueerHeroes Day 20 – Gloria Allen

#QueerHeroes Day 20.
Gloria Allen

It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes someone like Gloria Allen to raise the village in the first place.

After retiring from her position as a registered nurse, she became frustrated with the resources and subsequent positions fellow trans women of younger generations experienced.

So “Mama Gloria”—as she is known in trans circles in Chicago—started a charm school for trans and gender nonconforming people.

But it wasn’t just etiquette classes that she taught. She taught how to build a community.

“Some [of the students] came from homes—they had parents—but their parents weren’t understanding of their gender and some were tossed out,” Allen said. “They need to know you don’t do a child like that. You don’t do anybody like that because we are all different.”

In addition to teaching style and comportment, Gloria taught them how to practice safe sex, how to navigate hormone therapy, and how to escape cycles of abuse.

Gloria Allen is a shining example of part of what makes queer people so beautiful: Our ability to build a lineage and a legacy, not through blood, but out of showing others like us that they don’t deserve to be alone.

A play based on Gloria’s work—”Charm” by Philip Dawkins—premiered in New York in 2017.

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