A little confession: I had in the works a longer post in the works for this particular day, the 2021 Transgender Day of Visibility, than what I’m publishing here. That other post was going to be about an old TV report from the 1970s that I saw on YouTube, a report that profiled those who underwent gender confirmation processes. One reason I’ll save it for later is that its finishing touches likely wouldn’t be ready for today; yeah, I try to make these posts so perfect before and even after hitting that big, orange “publish” button.
The other, more important reason is that… well, this is 2021. Nothing against our trans siblings who were at the forefront of our community decades ago (and, again, I’ll share that particular story not too long from now). But too long of a gauze on flowers from the past means overlooking the garden our community is planting today. It’s a beautiful garden… but some ugly weeds are intruding.
For sure, the trans community has and is still making advancements when it comes to being accepted as part of everyday society:
We may be making your lunch order at the deli, or perhaps growing that food in the field.
We may be delivering that order to your door, or at least making sure it goes to the right place.
We may be fixing your car or doing your hair.
We may be doing a virtual drag show, if not wowing audiences in scripted dramas on screens large and small.
We are helping ensure a beautiful future not just for ourselves… but for our fellow citizens through roles in civic leadership.
Or, for at least crossdressers like me (and we are part of the trans community), we may be just at home in male-mode drab, longing for the day when we can get all dolled up, head out for dinner with supportive souls, and bring home only enjoyable memories and not some dreaded virus.
Make no mistake, the trans community is making our marks on the world… and we’re making our marks in the true identities we see ourselves to be.
That’s the good part of all of this. The bad part is that… well, there are still those who do not want to accept the trans community.
In case you’re living under a rock, right now conservative-leaning state legislators are making any and all efforts to push us into oblivion. They are proposing or enacting laws aimed to prevent trans athletes from competing in sporting competitions corresponding with their gender identity. And just yesterday in Arkansas, the State Senate sent to the governor legislation that forbids doctors from providing hormone treatment or surgical services to any trans person under age 18 (no exceptions, not even for those already receiving such care).
It is clear that these are ignorant actions. Ignorant in the “I’ve never meant any trans people, so I will automatically say they’re sinful” way. Ignorant in the “only girls should play girls’ sports” way (as if trans girls aren’t real girls). And even ignorant in the “I’m standing up for women and girls everywhere” way. (If that doesn’t make one shake their head in disbelief…) What’s even more clear is that these lawmakers aren’t afraid to stoop to any level, or put any group of people into harm, for the sake of scoring a few political points with like-minded people and make up for their failures with “bathroom bills” and “traditional marriage” battles of years ago.
Clearly, we in the broad trans community still have our work cut out for us. But it’s not as if we haven’t tried our darndest. Heck, we’re ready to meet halfway, if we’re not at that halfway point already. Now, why won’t those who disregard and disdain us meet us there? Seriously, is that too much to ask of them?
If you are reading this and, like those self-righteous legislators and pearl-clutchers, have never even met a trans or gender-nonconforming person, especially a trans youth, take the time to at least hear our stories and those of our supportive families. We’re the people in your neighborhood, town, city, state… and perhaps even in the office next to yours. We’re also the inheritors of what you will leave behind, whether you like it or not. Hearing our plight, on TDOV or any other day, can be enlightening enough for you to ensure our safe future.
If you identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, we need for you to have our backs now more than ever. We are so happy you’ve had your victories, be it at the wedding altar or in other anti-discrimination fights, including current positive efforts that are afoot in Washington. But know we’re part of the same railroad line. The “T” in “LGB&T Railroad” may be the last letter, but it’s just as important as the first three.
And to my fellow trans sisters and brothers (and, yes, my siblings in crossdressing), stay visible. Those who disdain us are wanting to pick fights against pretend evils that they don’t even want to see. But they won’t win if we don’t stop telling the whole wide world how, just as cis-gender people are, we are valid human beings with our own traits, faults, dreams, and aspirations. Live our lives in our own ways (note the plural form of that word).
Happy Trans Day of Visibility 2021 to all of you! And here’s hoping that the fears we still face now will abate back into those unsightly corners come Trans Day of Visibility 2022.