CANTON, Ohio — Singing is a passion for Becky Murphy. It’s something they say they enjoy since they were little.
“I used to sing on my dad’s tape set. I’m Gen X, so we had some old stuff, so I was singing along to that. Then I joined the choir in eighth grade at Shore [Middle] School in Mentor,” Murphy said. “I was at Mentor High School and I was in the choir the whole time I was at Mentor, and we were really good.
Now in their adult lives, Murphy said they want to continue doing what they love.
“I really just wanted to join a choir again. I saw someone shared something on Facebook about the Cleveland Transgender Choir,” Murphy said.
Founded in 2016 at Baldwin Wallace University by Principal Tracy Grady, the Cleveland Transgender Choir is a choir for people who identify as transgender or non-binary. The band doesn’t need auditions, and Murphy said it was their first semester involved.
“I know they’ve performed in the past at some of the different Pride events over the summer, so it was really appealing to me to be able to sing along with other trans people,” said Murphy.
Looking at photos from their past lives, Murphy said they identify as non-binary. They added that they only officially came out a few years ago when they were in their early 40s.
“I always thought there was something wrong with me because I was so different from my peers,” Murphy said. “It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to piece it all together and understand that I’m not binary. There was a reason I was different, it’s just because I’m under the trans umbrella. My gender is neither female nor male.
Murphy is also a parent of transgender and fluid children. While choosing an outfit for a choir performance that honors transgender people, Murphy thanked their children and the choir for allowing them to celebrate their identity when others wouldn’t.
“Well, because we need a space where we can be ourselves, express ourselves, and feel accepted and loved,” Murphy said.
The choir’s Transgender Remembrance Day performance was held at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights, Ohio. It is a congregation, according to its websitewho prides himself on being open and assertive.
At the church, Murphy said: ‘Today is a really special performance because there are a lot of trans people being murdered and taking their own lives. It’s a way for those of us who are survivors to recognize how important it is to remember all those who are gone.
They hoped that those watching could take away something positive from the performance.
“That we are here, that we exist, and that we deserve love and humanity, just like everyone else,” Murphy said.