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The sun rises, and it shines brightly

Yesterday during a study session, I got to explain asexuality to my friends and all of them understood and accepted me as I am. I got hugged and told that they support me no matter what (My allosexual friends even joked about how they’re the exact opposite of me lol). I even mentioned how I’m still confused about my romantic orientation and they told me that I don’t have to pressure myself, that I still have time to know myself better. It was a relief for me.

Last night, I also got to finally talk to this guy I’ve been having mutual pining with (He’s straight af) and clarified what we really are because our other friends kept on asking about it. I had to ask my other group of friends from my previous school for a call to help me not panic in the situation. It was a pain to talk about relationships and stuff because I am personally not into romantic relationships but I really really like him. His presence makes me feel less shitty. I enjoy moments with him. I explained to him about my sexuality, my exact thoughts on relationships and he told me that it was okay, that he understands me. I was hesitant at first, I wasn’t sure what was really happening and I was really scared. So I kept asking if he was sure, if he was serious, to which he replied that he will adjust and that he is really okay with it. He said that I shouldn’t worry because he will do his best in whatever we have. We didn’t say anything about it, about a relationship. We just guaranteed what we really feel. For me, that was enough. I really didn’t want to establish a relationship, I just know to myself that I really like him and he feels the same way. We even agreed not to answer our friends’ questions because I’m uncomfortable with it.

I am still scared but I also want to risk it and see the whole thing develop. It’s a big risk but I want to let myself let go for a while and have personal growth, with discovering who I really am (I often have identity crisis and it causes me breakdowns) and understand myself more, knowing what I really want. I discovered that I’m asexual just last year and I still remain unsure with my romantic orientation (I’m sure that I’m bi, but romantic relationships are just…idk). There is still a lot of time to grow. I sometimes feel invalid but with the support I have from my friends, I believe that I’ll be okay. I’m not out to my family. My mom has made homophobic, transphobic comments and my dad is extremely homophobic. My siblings are okay, I might come out to them soon because I know they’re the ones who will understand. They also hate how our parents are like this.

Right now, I’m just relieved. It’s been going well. I’ll be okay. I’m writing this post to let everyone who feels the same way I do extremely VALID! There’s so much time for growth and you will get to know and understand yourself better! It sucks that feeling really complicated with oneself makes us feel shitty but I just want to let you know that you are going to be okay, and that you are still valid! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜♥️💞💕❣️💗

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To T-Mobile and its #LGBT Customers,

I am a transsexual woman. My name is Josie Maxine Gallows and I’ve spent the last three years in an absolutely atrocious business relationship with T-Mobile. I’ve done my best to not go public with the outrages of my case with T-Mobile but I have, yet again, had three to four hours of my night wasted for the last two nights. I’ve tried to be cordial and professional but I’m sick and tired of explaining my transsexual life to customer service agents from the US to the Philippines, both in person and on the phone.

Sometime between 2013-2015 I opened an account with T-Mobile for cell phone service, prior to my legal and medical transition to female. T-Mobile customer service won’t provide the exact date of my account opening because they’ve sold my account to a debt collection agency therefore causing me additional hardship. More on this later.

Starting in June 2015, I began my attempt to get T-Mobile to accept my identity as valid. I provided court order information showing my legal name and gender change. I provided copies of my ID. After this proved ineffective, I kept calling to rectify the situation. Why? Because any time I needed to pay my bill, I had to out myself to the customer service agent on the phone and prove to them I wasn’t my own husband and was indeed the account holder. Because I do not speak with a male voice, they denied me access to my own account information. This happened dozens of times.

On November 17th 2015 I purchased an iPhone 6s for $800 cash at a T-Mobile location. Paid in full. Despite my previous bad interactions, I stuck with T-Mobile due to the fear that switching companies would prove even more problematic and stressful. I had similar issues switching car insurance providers who refused to believe I am who I say I am, such as The General, Geico, and Progressive. Progressive in particular determined to charge me more for my premium because they claim female drivers are less safe, though they have no statistics for transsexual females. At this point in my life, changing services can be a days, weeks, or months long hassle of proving my identity and getting equality with the services and rates men receive. So no, it wasn’t as simple as switching to another cell provider – as they check credit to determine bills and offer promotions on phones and services, and my being transsexual comes up as a red flag. I have no access to credit cards, loans, or most banking institutions.

In 2016, I was told by customer service agents to go into brick and mortar T-Mobile stores to prove my identity so my interactions would go better in the future and my credit could reflect bills paid on time. Those agents asked me for not only my court ordered name change, my ID, one even asked for medical documentation that I was in fact female. I attempted this multiple times, at multiple locations, insistent that I would be recognized for the person I say I am by a company I’d spent several thousands of dollars with.

This repeated itself, taking on order of 30 hours collectively (I kept count) at brick and mortar stores and in one instance made me late for work, costing me even more money and time. The time spent on phones with agents would probably bring that hourly count up to 50 or 60 hours. Again in 2016, I was told to retry the same method. Go into a store, provide my information, and explain to a bewildered staff that I’ve had a sex change, in earshot of whatever other customers were in the store. My medical privacy rights were being violated with each instance of this ignorance. Bigoted customer service agents, in stores, pretended to update information in their systems but did not. And I know this for a fact because I would call corporate after my interaction to see if they really did what the in person agent claimed.

This was no GAME STOP incident such as the one that went video viral with another individual where they got angry, loudly proclaimed “IT’S MA'AM!” and made threats. I was sane, calm, and professional. I’ve been cool as a cucumber and I demand my case be made right.

Finally, in 2017 I’d lost my patience and realized I would never win with T-Mobile. I called customer service, demanded to speak to the highest supervisor possible during daytime business hours, and told the agent I wanted to cancel my service and be refunded several months of bills due to the stress, dozens of hours of uncalled for labor on my part, and countless disrespectful interactions. I told them I would not be providing my court and medical documentation once again. I stopped uttering my deadname and using a fake male voice to prove myself.

Apparently, the agents still didn’t believe I was who I said I was. They kept my account open and kept charging me. Finally, when the money I never intended to pay never arrived to T-Mobile they cut off the service and sent the accrued bill to collections, harming my credit after years of patience on my behalf.

T-Mobile does not have the right to collect more data about me than the US government. T-Mobile doesn’t have the right to harm me financially because I’m trans.

I dealt with ignorance and bigotry from 2015-2019. Yes, even now.

After canceling service, my fiance switched from his original carrier to T-Mobile. He added the iPhone 6s I own to the plan so I could have phone service under his account. T-Mobile had zero issue giving my phone service so long as it was under their plan. Recently, after T-Mobile customer service botched his account, he decided to switch to another company. His phone, completely paid off, had no issue being unlocked and ported to another company. My phone? Not so simple.

T-Mobile claims they can’t unlock my $800 iPhone for use on another telecommunications company because they claim I owe them money that I don’t. Here I am, in 2019, on hours long phone conversations retelling my transsexual story to people who shouldn’t know it. These agents ask me, in regards to my original account, to get my husband to verify it as the account holder. Once again they are telling me I am my own husband and I need to get him on the line to get to get anything resolved. These customer service agents then condescend to me saying “Oh my supervisor is LGBT, he’ll understand.” Then they lie, get nothing done, and the cycle repeats. More phone calls, more customer service agents, and no results.

T-Mobile is telling me they can’t unlock my $800 phone because of a bill I never agreed to and attempted to cancel after years of ignorance, frustration, bigotry, and violation of privacy on the phone and in public.

All in all, I’ve spent 50 hours or more attempting to resolve my standing with T-Mobile and to get them to (A.) cancel an erroneous bill, which is not my responsibility, (B.) unlock the phone I own, and (C.) update my records to reflect that I am who I say I am, as I’ve been in multiple T-Mobile locations with all of my information on hand. My consistent professionalism should have improved my credit, not harmed it.

So now, after yet more wasted time and frustration, I’m going public.

I ask for recompense. Not only do I want the bill erased, my phone unlocked, my credit improved, and my records amended, I want a tangible sign of good faith from T-Mobile to me that this will not happen again to another member of the transsexual or transgender community.

T-Mobile, the ball is in your court.

I will accept all of the above solutions, a public apology, plus recompense for my time commiserate with the sheer amount of stress, bigotry, ignorance, condescension, and wasted time I endured.

If someone from T-Mobile sees this: you know how to contact me. You have my email address on file.

I am sick and tired of being dis-included from a functional financial and social life simply for because my womanhood was hard-won. And I’m sick of T-Mobile. I thought you all should know.

TL;DR: T-Mobile forced me to reprove my identity multiple times because I’m trans, over 4 years in person, humiliated me, subjected me to bigoted agents, refused to close my account because they didn’t believe I was who I said I was, and then put my account in collections hurting me financially. They caused me to endure 50-60 hours of stress since 2015 to present. Now they won’t unlock a phone I paid for in full, at $800. All because they don’t know how to handle trans customers.

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As Pride month nears let’s remember that huge corporations will, once again, tout their progressive, gay friendly nature in the most shallow, banal way, because focus groups show it will help them make just a bit more profit.

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