I know that I was supposed to do a Part 2 to my previous post but I haven’t been able to fully realize what I want to say yet. So, I thought I’d do this post instead.
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance and I wanted to create a special post to honor those who have been harmed and lost their lives for showing the world who they are inside.
As a transwoman myself, I can’t help but realize how lucky I’ve been so far with my transition and wonder if my luck is going to run out. I imagine myself in the scariest situations I can in order to empathize with those who haven’t been as lucky. When I do this, all I feel is guilt and shame because I feel that my so called “luck” is merely the result of being hyper cautious. This type of caution gives me protection but comes at a terrible price.
The cost is that I invalidate myself every time I am cautious. I do this by ignoring every time I’m misgendered or when my old name is used no matter how much it hurts. I also I dress more gender neutral sometimes when I don’t really want to and I don’t work as hard on developing my female voice and don’t really use it in public. Caution keeps me quiet in social situations and I pretend not to notice hateful and ignorant comments about trans people that I see and hear. I do this instead of what I should be doing which is combating them. I do all of these things and more out of fear of the possibilities that could happen.
My caution is simply cowardice and there is no excuse for it. Every time I hide myself because of fear I am not only invalidating my own gender identity to appease others instead of making them think but I’m also invalidating every other trans person as a result. Being part of a minority means that each person within that minority has a bigger contribution to how that group is viewed as a whole. The view of the group can be based on this and it can contribute to negative generalizations, or stereotypes. By being afraid to act, I’m kind of telling cisgender people that gender identity isn’t important or real to us. I’m giving others an excuse to invalidate us and to not understand us. My non action is action and it is harmful to the transgender community.
Starting today, I will no longer exchange the authenticity of my gender identity or other’s gender identities for total safety. I will have the courage to question those who are ignorant and don’t understand. I will fight hate with calm compassion and rationality. Instead of running away from life as I’ve done countless times before I will go forward, even if it’s only one small step at a time. I will honor those who bravely came before me and I hope to inspire those who will follow.
So today remember us. We’re people too and we deserve to live our lives as ourselves without fear.