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Trae Young

Born Beverly in 1964 and a lifelong resident of Lynn, Young was raised with his older sister and younger brother by a strong but challenging single mother. Young’s grandfather moved the family to Massachusetts to avoid the fate of generations of ancestors who worked in the South Carolina cotton plantations. Life in Massachusetts proved difficult. Growing up in Memorial Street Projects came with many hardships, including “cockroaches and rats the size of cat.” Young’s mother struggled to make ends meet while working in a factory job at Wayne Manufacturing, where Young would be recruited at age 15 to help pay the family bills. Young describes an especially harrowing scene of violence when coming out his mother, who was a devout Southern Baptist. Despite being sent to work at age 15, Young earned a GED and graduated from North Shore Community College with a degree in Art History. They would go on to work in various jobs, none of which was as satisfying as working as a bouncer in Fran’s Place. Young speaks fondly of the family and community in Fran’s, which later spurred him to AIDS activism and fight for marriage equality. He discusses the empowerment and expenses of gender-affirming surgery, as well as his admiration for the younger generation of LGBTQ+ activists.

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Trae Young

Duration

47:15

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My grandfather moved to MA from South Carolina.

Trae Young

I knew I would have a hard life.

Trae Young

My father didn't deserve the title "dad."

Trae Young

I always knew that I was different.

Trae Young

I was a bouncer at several bars.

Trae Young

I lost close friends to AIDS.

Trae Young

Kirsten and I gave out condoms.

Trae Young

God means everything to me.

Trae Young

We lost a lot when the bars closed.

Trae Young

Kids today are brave!

Trae Young

I started working in the factories at 15.

Trae Young

I never felt poor.

Trae Young

My first crush was my school teacher.

Trae Young

Mom said "No child of mine is lesbian."

Trae Young

We had great rapport with the police.

Trae Young

Marriage equality changed people.

Trae Young

I started transitioning at 52.

Trae Young

I've always felt male.

Trae Young

Where can our community gather now?

Trae Young

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