You may not be aware but March 31 is the last day of Transgender Awareness Month, and today is specifically Trans Day of Visibility. The idea is that Trans people are functioning and productive members of society, and today is a day to bring some attention to the fact that Trans people exist, that Trans people play vital roles in society, and that Trans people are worthy of respect and dignity. It’s also an opportunity for Trans allies to show support for the community. There is strength in numbers, so the more people see Trans people and allies going about their lives, the more they hopefully come to realize that it’s a normal and not scary thing.
Many of my friends have used this day (or week) to proclaim their transgender status to friends and family (via social media or other means), and I’m proud of them for doing so. I’m even more proud of the responses they’ve received from the people in their lives – very much accepting and supportive.
I spent the day in a variety of places – going about my daily life, but visibly defying gender norms. My clothing and hairstyle definitely contrasted with my body shape and features so that anyone who took more than a glance at me would likely immediately realize the incongruence. I’m thankful that this was met with little to no response. I did not notice any stares, pointing, whispering, laughing, or any other negative reaction to how I was presenting. I did my best to just act normal and go about my business – talking to store clerks, restaurant workers, passersby on the street and sidewalk, etc. My hope is, while my visual presentation might be a little jarring, that people who did notice it also noticed my confidence and lack of fear or shame.
While I still have a long way to go towards self-acceptance, days like today help me to feel hope that the world is learning to accept and understand some of the diverse groups that tend to inhabit the fringes of society. We are real humans, we are not “mentally ill” (except that society tends to apply such other pressures which put us at risk for related mental illness – depression and anxiety disorders are very common). In fact, we are funny, creative, smart, serious, loyal, loving, vulnerable, motivated people who want to make the world a better place. Give us a chance – you may find we are pretty awesome in our own right.
Until next time,