Thankful and Transgender

This time last year I was house sitting for a friend so he could go off to be with family. I spent the holiday alone for the first time in my life. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It is so much about coming together, sharing and giving thanks. But I was nearing the end of a long confusing road full of hurt. I was about as alienated from my own existence as one can get. I was still in the closet and just thankful for the time to be alone without the assumptions of the world. It was just me and a couple of cats, they don’t assume they just merely expect. I also realized in that time alone that it was high time I confronted my deepest fears. It was time for me to learn to give thanks.

In the year that has followed I have found true acceptance of who I am as a person. I have found that instead of finding more pain as an openly trans person I have found a level of joy I didn’t know I could have. The other day I was looking through old photos. Often a hard thing for we trans folk. I found a series of photos my Mom had snapped of me, my brother and my father on the stoop of our home in New Jersey. When I used to look at it I would see my Pop and brother looking very male. And in from the side, baseball hat in hand as a token of maleness, I saw the awkward kid who I could never understand. I would wonder why I couldn’t be like them no matter how hard I tried. But now just before this Thanksgiving, I saw the same photo through new eyes. I saw the goofy tomboy I have always been, leaning impishly on my Poppa’s knee. I thought I looked cute!

  
My life makes sense to me now and quite frankly I have learned a lot from all the pain I have been through. My teens and twenties weren’t all bad but I have gotten to reconnect with that impish, goofy tomboy I had been so long ago, before testosterone and before I repressed my soul out of fear. Now I get to share that oh so important goofy tomboy part of me with the world every day. 

Yes, I am so glad to be trans. So very thankful that I have been able to embrace it at last and that I can celebrate it as a fact. I can look back on my life with joy and tears alike. I feel so complete! Even more so I can look to the future with a new hope and purpose of being. I truly am most thankful to have been born transgender.

Thankful and Transgender

Today I Mourn

Today I mourn

Today I mourn my fallen siblings

Killed by the hate that kept them trapped

In a world not kind

To those whose genders come from beyond

What cruel folks call

“Normal human”

Today I mourn

For my trans siblings

Who failed to meet 

Cis comprehension 

Whose lives were taken

In acts of hate

Today I mourn trans siblings killed

By those with whom 

They tried to share

Their hearts, their love

Today I mourn 

Those trans siblings lost

To their own hands

And to a violence

Made by the hate 

Of a world

That refused to understand

And bullied them

‘Till they could not stand

Another night, another day

Of ceaseless senseless pain

Today I mourn

Today I mourn

Today I mourn 

But I will not forget

The light that my trans siblings brought 

To this, our world

Today I mourn

But take what strength I have

And battle on against that tide

Of fearful retribution 

With my fire

I will turn that tide

To a glowing mist 

Of kaleidoscopic and multitudinous glory

Of gender claimed

And fought so hard for

I will try to share

With all who’ll listen

My tale of struggle

That is not mine alone

This valiant struggle to set all

Whose  gender strays

From what’s expected 

Free at last

So that this list of the dead that grows

Each passing year

Will one day end

And all human lives can be lived

In freedom and in peace

So that all humanity 

Can live unchained 

In celebration of one another’s glory

Today I mourn

But I will not forget

To do my part

To fix this world

So that none shall mourn

Like this again

Today I mourn

Those lights who shined

But all too briefly 

Today I mourn

My trans siblings

Whose souls fell like autumn’s leaves 

Sinking to cover

The graves of the lost

Today I mourn

But my hope grows

Out of the pain

And into the light

Today I mourn

Today I mourn

Today I mourn

But I will not cease to fight

Today I mourn

And today I remember 

All of my siblings killed

Because they were transgender

Today I Mourn

The T is the LGB!

Recently a petition has been circulating on change.org calling for organizations like GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign, The Advocate and Huffington Post Gay Voices to drop the T from the LGBT. The petition was supposedly started by a consortium of L, G and B folks who feel that the T is a destructive ideological distraction that negatively impacts women, gay men and of course children. Many of the organizations being petitioned have already come out in full support of trans inclusion. There is even a counter petition that has garnered more signatures that stands with trans people.

That is as it should be, because the T is the most essential part of the acronym. All of the hatred and fear gay men, bisexuals and lesbians face is gender-based hatred. They have stepped outside of what is expected of their assigned gender. They are a prime example of gender variance. Not as obvious as trans folk, sure, but that is what they are, gender-variant siblings. Trans folk have been at the forefront of the LGBT movement from the get go. We have a harder time passing as any kind of cis or hetero normative individual. We are also as likely, if not more so, to be mixed into the rest of the acronym. When your very body defies gender norms it is very difficult to define when exactly you are having hetero or homosexual relationships. Especially for the nonbinary trans people and intersex folks who refuse to submit to cis standards.

We are the smallest minority and among the most vulnerable. We face having our basic human dignity denied every day and our basic human rights ignored. We are seen as a “social experiment” or as child predators, rapists and generally perverted people. We are brutally murdered for existing and driven to suicide by a world that shuns us. Why? Because even though we were born this way the world refuses to understand. Now that certain cis folk are getting the rights that they deserve they feel the war is won. Just like at the beginning of the movement a selfish minority wants to suppress the more obviously gender variant in our number. Feminine gay men are still attacked from within their communities as are feminine lesbians. Why? Misogyny, plain and simple.

Masculinity is forever seen as a pillar of strength (phallic symbol deliberately chosen) in our society. Femininity is the quivering, irrational weakness to be fought against. That is the real crux of the matter. The very idea that there are only two genders and that they are in opposition. They are in fact part of a cohesive whole and the place where they touch is full of endless variety. 

In conclusion, trans people are everywhere and everyone. We are men, women and children. We are lesbians. We are gay men. We are bisexuals. We are homeless sex workers. We are drag performers. We are academics. We are doctors. We are janitors. We are an intrinsic part of humanity that has been burned and murdered alongside our suffering siblings since the beginning of history. We are all siblings and we should all sit at the table together and partake of the feast, celebrating the joy of our diversity instead of badgering one another in the name of hegemony. Submitting to the fear and hatred that has oppressed gender variation in western society for so long is not an option any more and there is no stopping half way through the war for freedom. 

The T is the LGB!