Becoming Me: International Transgender Day of Visibility

 

I’ve been quietly mulling over what to say today for a little while. There’s so much good and so much bad, and so much that will be said much better and to a much wider audience.

The last year has felt a lot like a battleground over gender, not just for me personally but in the wider world. For every story about a trans person who has committed suicide or been murdered, or a bill being proposed or passed to allow discrimination, there’s been another story of love and acceptance and people learning to stand up for themselves and others to make things better.

I’m firmly of the belief that things are getting better. The violence of the backlash is from those who are being forced to confront the existence of trans folk of every shape, size, colour and gender-identity. There will always be those willing to hate what they don’t know, and those happier to remain ignorant than to learn. But likewise there are always those who do love, and who want to learn.

It’s the latter that I try to see, on every day of grief and on every day of joy, I look for them, and they’re there. I love the trans allies I see, because every one of them is someone who has learned to love trans people by seeing them for what they are – people.

We’re people, just like everyone else. We love, we laugh, we hurt, we cry. We’re in the supermarket and in the park, on your tv and on facebook. Not all of us are out, not all of us are open, and not all of us want the attention – and accompanying danger – of being seen. But we’re there.

And today is the day when I ask you to take a second and be aware of that. Be aware that trans people are dying, being beaten up, being fired, evicted, hated, discriminated against in ways both big and small. Even at best, we’re the subject of rumour, disinformation, hatred, and stereotyping. In tv and film we’re usually shown as deceptive about our gender, as tragically doomed to violent death, at best as nothing more than a convenient plot point – and even on the best day, it’s hard to find a truthful and rounded portrayal of a trans person in popular media. And this informs people wrongly of how to treat us in real life.

So on this day, I ask you to take one second to stop and think of me, sat here, writing this. I’m luckier than so many, but I’ve experienced unfounded hate and prejudice directed at me because I’m trans. I’ve lost people who couldn’t handle it. I deal every day with a world that often seems to want me gone. And that while dealing with dysphoria so severe that most days I can’t even glance towards a mirror.

Take that second, then take another to consider all the other people who have it a lot worse than I do.

On today, of all days, just take an extra moment to think.