Today, March 31st is International Transgender Day of Visibility.
As someone who's been fairly open and visible about being transgender, I wanted to take a few minutes and write a blog post about today. I recognize that there are trans people who cannot be out and visible and to them I want them to know that's okay, be safe and if you ever feel it's safe to do so, please do.
This has not been a great year for trans people in the United States, as of today, 492 bills have been introduced in 47 states. Not only that, but it's only March. These bills range from being "Don't say gay", sports bans, bathroom bans, forced outing bills, forced de-transitioning and so many more with direct consequences on the lives of children and adult trans people (in some states).
Gender affirming healthcare is critical life-saving care and without it I wouldn't be here today. The trans youth of today aren't getting irreversible medical procedures done regardless of what some may have portrayed. They just want access to healthcare they deserve to help them live their lives authentically, for a lot of us that can involve therapy or counseling.
We're hurting today more than ever with the constant attacks on our rights and our ability to exist. There are many states I no longer am safe to travel to due to the laws being passed, Tennessee included in that list, but you see I'm one of the fortunate people to live in a relatively friendly state to LGBTQ+ people.
I can't imagine what I'd do if I lived elsewhere, like many many trans and gender non-conforming individuals in these states introducing and passing legislation. I'd probably not be in a great situation mentally.
Gender affirming care reduces suicide risk by 73%. 73%!! That's practically a miracle treatment and yet there are those who wish to ban it. The cruelty is the point, there are people who believe I and other trans people should not have the same rights as they have. They say they are passing these to "protect the children", but the legislation has quickly morphed into far worse bills. Tennessee has passed an "drag ban", but the law is so loosely written I, a transgender woman, could be accused of being a "female impersonator".
I'm not impersonating anyone, I'm just trying to live my life, go to the work, pay my bills and live in society like any other woman does.
It hasn't been easy to be visible, there are times I wish I could blend in. I've received hateful hateful messages and messages telling me to take my own life. But I do it for others like me, who need or needed permission to be their true authentic selves. If that's you, take this as me giving you permission, if you want to be a girl, you can just be a girl. Or if you want to be a boy, you can just be a boy. If neither being a boy or girl fits for you, that's okay too! It's okay to be trans. It's okay to be non-binary. You matter. Things will get better.
If you're an ally and you've made it this far, please keep fighting for us, we need all the voices we can get to speak up for us because it's often unsafe for us to do so.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue to be visible where I can, because ultimately I'm just living life. I'm different than others, sure, but at the same time I'm really no different in so many other ways.