Hometown Hero: A True Rock Star
Updated: May 23
Update: 3:39 pm - Pamela Raintree lived in Shreveport for 18 years. We had originally stated she lived there for 25 years.
Queerport will be profiling a number of trans+ people during the month of April, kicking off today with Trans Day of Visibility (March 31). TDoV is all about celebrating trans and gender non-conforming+ people and raising awareness, and we want to highlight these folks all month long. This is the first in a series. Art and story by S. M. Prescott.
"Are you familiar with Gershwin’s tune 'Rhapsody in Blue'? There you go. That’s how I would describe my gender."
The same power that flows through that piece flowed through Pamela Raintree when she dared former Shreveport City Councilman Ron Webb to stone her death in 2014. Raintree, a former Shreveporter, called the area home for 18 years.
Raintree’s childhood in the conservative, religious South gave her a unique perspective. She knew from an early age that she was transsexual.* Her teenage years were hardest, saying, "the magic that teenagers go through took me in the wrong direction." It was then that Pamela realized the self she knew, and the person others thought she was, weren't congruent.
"The South I grew up in was much more openly hostile than today." She was beaten daily for her self honesty and was rejected by many people close to her. Her teenage years were the most lonely. "In Mississippi, you don’t talk about such things."
Pamela also believes being an outsider allowed her to learn quickly that discrimination and hate are bipartisan. Her experiences with trauma have led her to be a fiery and compassionate advocate for the transgender community. Her favorite role has been teaching parents about their transgender children. "I don’t want any kid to go through the stuff I went through." She wants parents to know that being transgender is not a game or a phase. "It’s important that parents recognize right away that children know exactly who they are, and that they will be healthier humans if they are allowed to become who they are."
Her advice to younger people in the gender community is simply to "Trust Yourself."
*Raintree identifies herself as transsexual
S. M. Prescott is a non-binary, white, queer-dyke, artist born and raised in the swamps of Louisiana. They currently reside in Ruston, Louisiana where they are an instructor at Louisiana Tech University. You can often find them in a park with their dog Parish or on roller skates, sometimes at the same time.