Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014: The Precurser To The 2015 Coming Out Party

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

Each year seems to be getting better and better for the Trans Community. In 2013 we called it the year of the T.  As we rolled through 2014 it seemed we were everywhere but it seems this year that we will look back upon 2014 as just the warm up to the biggest coming out party the world has ever seen, for Trans society, 2015 maybe the start of main stream acknowledgement like never before after an historical year for our community.

We are everywhere, in every town and in nearly every family there is one of us that has broken down doors. Those of us who are proclaiming our identity and millions waiting to burst out of the seems of oppression that has been in works for a century. As in ancient times the world is yet again seeing the vast importance of the third gender people and our unique gift we bring to the world.

If television is the new American past time, then that medium was plastered with Trans faces; from Lavern Cox in 'Orange is the New Black' to 'Transparent'.  The T had finally risen from the back of the LGB line, so much that mega advocate groups like GLAAD had to  readjust themselves accordingly to admit...apologize...and correct it's lack of support for years of transgender people. The HRC, the largest LGBT group , received the force of the new Trans Rage after several transphobic incidents and are struggling to this day to win back the Transgender community.

Even pop culture icon MTV felt the influence by featuring Laura Jane Grace of the punk rock band 'Against Me'. Our neighbors to the north, Canada felt the influence as musical group The Clicks top the charts there. Even the literary world sat back in amazement as Janet Mock rose to the top of the New York Times best sellers list with her novel 'Redefining Realness', only to followed by the newest 'genderation' of Trans, Jazz Jennings and her novel 'I am Jazz'. Two novels hitting the best sellers list simultaneously and two first for Transgender authors.

While Laverne Cox and Janet Mock were scoring victories on the small screen, Mara Keisling, the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), was quietly working to change federal policy on transgender issues. Together, the NCTE and the Obama administration made 2014 a banner year for transgender rights. Starting January 1st, the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, made it possible for many transgender Americans to receive transition-related care for the first time. In April, the Department of Education granted Title IX protections to transgender students.

Legal progress in individual U.S. states and municipalities, on the other hand, has been a bit of a mixed bag. In January, California passed a notable law that protects transgender people's right to use the proper restroom, one of several so-called "bathroom laws" that have sent the Religious Right into a moral panic this year. In May, however, Houston Mayor Annise Parker buckled to pressure from the Right and removed language explicitly protecting transgender people's restroom rights from a contentious Equal Rights Ordinance; this move recalled the Human Rights Campaign's endorsement of a trans-exclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 2007.

With California, New York and Oregon implementing new legislation this year, seven states and the District of Columbia now allow transgender people to change the sex designation on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery, but most states still require it. Ohio, Tennessee and Idaho still prohibit reissuing or amending birth certificates for transgender people under any circumstance.

2015 begins the Golden Age of the Transgender person. Finally living visible and proud has become more than an idea but a reality. From Lavern Cox's nomination of an Emmy, Janet Mock launching the first ever nationally syndicated news show on MSNBC hosted by a Transgender person, to some of the top models in the world being named as Transgender women. Women like, Andreja Pejic, Carmen Carrera and Lea T. With such presence the world now no longer laughs at RuPaul's transphobic comments and in fact was forced to apologize to the Trans Community. We had finally come out of the shadows as softer drag queens but the Men and Women we are.

One of the most exciting things happening within our community is the unity that has sparked. No longer those once seen as the only visuals of Trans Society, trans porn actors, looked upon in shame or separated totally by the greater society, but embraced. Those like Bailey Jay and Buck Angel  have lent their names to their fan base also to educate and advocate for the greater community.

In 2014 we were handed the keys to the world, how we proceed from here, the mark we make and the continued celebration of the Unity and Duality that is being Trans, will for the first time in history be up to the Trans Society. We now write our story, direct our films, control our bodies and media. Our legacy now lies in our hands and 2015 marks the moment we change the world.

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