Today, November 20, 2013, marks another day we mourn those Trans-sisters and brothers that are no longer with us due to hate and misunderstandings about what it means to be Trans. 238 living, breathing, beautiful souls lives cut short because someone else felt uncomfortable with the way another person chose to live their own, only one given life. Two hundred and thirty eight dreams unfulfilled. Leaders, friends, soldiers in the battle for equality stopped before their impact can be felt. Thankfully if you are reading this it means you are a friend or brother or sister that is still with us, but we are affected. What potential in life any of these people could have had that could have positively affected our lives has been snatched from all of us? What lessons of unity can we learn from this?
Living visibly as Trans comes with more hardships and obstacles many people who'd live a full life into retirement could never begin to comprehend, but it can be the most rewarding and spiritually fulfilling life any human could know. Many Transgender people who, 'pass' or transition are eager to blend and be part of everyday society. Truly, because of discrimination this is not a hard decision to make, if you can, but are we leaving 238 people and many others that can't, behind? Are we doing an injustice to our own equality and those like us by denying who we are? Is it really that easy to forget your Trans? I've had a time in life where I chose to live stealth and deny being Trans, for me it was lonely and depressing not having contact with others like me. I often remembered the words of an older post-op friend, Apple Love, who always said,' regardless if know one around you know, every morning when you look in the mirror you know."
Many say there is no actual Trans community. Many have said they wanted to be a part of a larger community but because of the lack of unity based on race, economics, religion etc., that they chose to give up and live separate from other Trans people. For me, as a Trans-woman, I've encountered that competitive or jealousy spirit among women that is magnified at times with Trans-women, which makes it difficult to make friends within the community. Trans-people only suffer from gender dysphoria, therefore, in every other way they have attributes like any other human being; like racism which also can divide us from being a full community as well as other bigotries. How much are we really hurting ourselves? Could our apathy to not judge, belittle or refuse to be part of a greater Trans community contributing in some way to the rise in murders of Transgender people. When I began HRT, I was blessed to be surrounded by older, wiser Trans-women who would warn me of the dangers of 'not revealing myself to an intimate partner', and made me aware that for a while during transition you may want to carry a weapon or be able to protect yourself. To watch your back in certain situations, or to have a friend or two when going to Cis-gender bars, or parties. Many never are told this, or have no one to give Trans everyday advice to because of a lack on the part of many Trans-people, not to be in contact with other Trans-people.
Obviously, there are many beginning Trans who don't want or desire advice or camaraderie with others in the community. Those, that I have known have learned hard lessons and struggle much harder. A few over the years have become those that may have never been mentioned in the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Maybe on of the things we can do is be more supportive of one on another. To lend a willing hand and support to any other Trans person we come in contact with. Hopefully if the world around us is not quick to undo their transphobic ways maybe we as trans-people can stop ours.
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Defining who we are pt. VI: The Complexities of Trans dating
Defining who we are pt. V: Learning to Care for Our Own
Defining who we are part IV: A message to Cis-gender people, Transgender is not sexuality