NEW YORK CITY – Meredith Talusan found her voice in social media as a writer, editor, and an advocate.
When she came out as a transgender woman last year, she felt discriminated and she even faced eviction from her campus housing, at one point.
She then took to social media to share her trans issues and experiences.
Talusan said, “When I complained at Cornell (University) tungkol dun sa sitwasyon ko sa Telluride House, everybody, even people who were sympathetic to me, said na you’lll have a hard time getting a job dahil you will be known as the person who complains a lot.”
But Talusan proved critics wrong.
Last week, she was hired as a full time LGBT staff writer for BuzzFeed. Talusan is the organization’s first openly transgender woman staff writer.
With a global audience of more than 200 million, Buzzfeed now provides Talusan a bigger stage to share breaking news, entertainment, and videos about trans experiences across the web.
“I don’t know of any other news organization that has that type of position, hindi lang LGBT, pero specifically about trans,” she said.
On her first day at work, she filed her first story. It’s her take on US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton’s “trans panic” defense in the murder case of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude.
“I will be writing personal essays and criticism analysis. Talagang it can be an opportunity to delve very deeply into trans issues and to be able to communicate aspects of trans experiences,” she said.
Talusan grew up a boy in Bulacan, Philippines before she came to the US when she was 15.
She went to Harvard for as an undergrad and then to Cornell University for her masters in creative writing and doctorate in literature.
Somewhere in between, she says, she transitioned into a woman.
Talusan says she counts fellow transgender Filipina Geena Rocero — a trans rights advocate and model — as her biggest idol.
Talusan said, “Geena is actually the reason why I’m here, dahil when I saw her Ted Talk, that was when I said to myself — if Geena can do it, why don’t I try to do that myself?”
Today, she calls the BuzzFeed office in midtown Manhattan a second home – being one of the most diverse newsrooms in the US.
“BuzzFeed allows you to be yourself. BuzzFeed is the most inclusive news organization,” Talusan said.
With an Ivy League education and a trans experience that spans from the Philippines to the US, Talusan says the world wide web is now her stage for trans advocacy, thanks to her new found voice through BuzzFeed.
You may contact Don Tagala at [email protected] for more information.
Salamat, Buzzfeed! Suwerte, Merideth!