2022 Trans Day of Visibility
It's trans day of visibility. Firstly, to all my trans siblings who cannot or choose not to be visible, that is ok, today is not about forcing visibility upon anyone. Being visible requires privilege to do so, and some are not safely afforded that privilege. In that same vane, to my cis friends, if someone you know is trans is not posting publicly today, please respect their privacy and safety and not out them in any way.
I am very fortunate to have the privilege of visibility. While I am lucky enough to nearly always pass, I also don't worry most the time about whether I do or not. I am able to be my own woman, pursue dreams and goals without the concern of whether or not doing so will somehow out me as different. Many transwomen are not this fortunate and must hide, strictly adhering to societal norms that reinforced their gender presentation in order to stay safe. That is the point of a day of visibility, to show all trans women what is possible for all of us, to lend motivation and encouragement to continue to fight for our rights, safety, and recognition.
I know I'm talking to a mostly cis audience here, and many people ask what they can do, how they can help. It's pretty easy, the biggest one, call people what they want to be called. Language is so powerful, I cannot express how euphoric it feels to hear someone you care about call you what you want to be called. Next, and I know I sound like a broken record with this one, but I still see it pretty rarely, normalize telling people your pronouns. Email signatures should have pronouns, social media accounts, introduce yourself to someone for the first time, etc. Try it today, it's free and easy to use. And lastly, get in the way. Do you hear someone using language that's not ok? Kindly remind them we don't say that anymore. See someone regularly misgendereding another family member, coworker or friend? Kindly remind them. And most of all, please stop walking by transwomen being assaulted. Call someone, call a crowd, call the police if you absolutely have to, but do something. (Oh, and good goddess, VOTE)
So much of the debate around transgender rights these days is about kids. Specifically the whole question of what if they change their minds when they grow up... So what? Are you still the same person as when you were a kid? Do you still hold all the same interests? Present through the same self expression? Probably not. I also what to share this thought. Experimentation with gender can only lead to greater understanding of others who you go through life with. I carry the fact that I was cultured male through my whole life. I can relate to men in a way that is different than someone who spent the first 25 years cultured female. If I were not trans, but I had experimented with gender as a child, those are lessons I would have carried with as well. If done in a safe, loving, and accepting space, children will learn how the rest of the gender spectrum is cultured if they choose to experiment in that way. I do not see how anyone whose goal is not only to reinforce the gender binary for their own manipulative gain could possibly see this as a bad thing.
I am over four years into this journey and I spent the first year of it terrified, worried that anywhere I went I would be clocked as different, that people would physically or verbally assault me. I didn't pass, I struggled every day with pretty overwhelming depression, wondering through the whole process if it would be worth it. I want that part of my journey to be visible as well, because I know how hard it is for people just coming out. I know I clung to any source of visibility or hope that I would turn out as lucky as other transwomen I saw who were many years in. If it feels right, stick with it. Pretty much the whole reason I made it through that year was because I had a partner who woke up every morning and told me I was beautiful and worthy and loved until I seriously believed it. We're not together anymore, but for that year I am truly, eternally grateful for her. It could have been a partner, a friend, a family member, if you can be that person even part-time in someone life, I would encourage you to do so.
A huge thank you all my other trans siblings who are choosing to be visible today, or any day for that matter. To all my trans siblings who aren't able to, or choose not to be visible today, you are so valid, loved, I see you and I'm always here for you. To anyone who ever has questions, or who needs to talk, click the Let's Chat button. I'm here for you.
We are here, we have always been here, and we will always be here, visible or not, safe or not, that's up to you.