I probably spent at least 80% of my waking life reading, talking, or thinking about anti-trans violence. That’s just a by-product of being in trans student in a Gender, Violence and Conflict MA. And it’s exhausting to constantly be exposed to the horrific violence that trans people face. So today, on Transgender Day of Visibility, I’m putting that part of my life aside and focusing on the wonderful aspects of being in the trans community. So here are 4 reasons* why I’m proud to be trans.
*Many of the things I bring up can be examined more critically, but for once I’m going to try to focus on the positive. I also want to mention that I use the term “we” when referring to the trans community, but it’s extremely important to note that I don’t mean for that to imply that all trans folks have the same experience or feel the same way because every experience is unique and I can’t be the voice for everyone. However, I wanted to highlight the solidarity within the trans community through that language.
1) Trans people do fucking incredible things.
Of course there are well known trans people such as Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, and Lana and Lilly Wachowski who star in TV shows and movies, write books, direct films, win Olympic medals and so much more. But there are also countless lesser known trans folks who do the unthinkable and deserve recognition. I could write an entire book on all the trans people I admire and have to thank for their relentless fighting for trans folks everywhere, but here’s a small handful in the mean time. Go read about our history and activism to learn about all the other accomplishments of trans folks in the world.
Go read Stone Butch Blues if you haven’t! Leslie’s writings have been instrumental in my development as a trans person and activist, and don’t know where I would be without them.
Lourdes Ashley Hunter
Lourdes is the co-founder and Executive Director of Trans Women of Color Collective and this group does truly amazing things for the trans community, such as hosting a queer dance protest to celebrate trans youth. Support their work by making a donation today!
Greta Gustava Martela
Greta is the Executive Director of the Trans Lifeline, a suicide hotline completely staffed by trans people for trans people who need support. Having struggled with suicidal ideation and mental health concerns, I really cannot thank Greta and everyone who works with Trans Lifeline enough for being a source of support.
Every single trans professor in academia
As a trans person who eventually wants to go into academia, seeing other trans people teaching and doing research means the world to me. I know it’s far from a perfect experience and there’s still a lot that needs to be done in academia to make it more supportive of trans folks, but they give me hope.
Actively competing trans athletes rarely get noticed, but Chris has. As a wannabe distance runner, seeing someone like Chris excel and make team USA is inspiring. His visibility in sports makes things easier, even if only a little bit, for the rest of us (even if we don’t have plans to try and go pro).
2) Community resilience.
Some of my best friends have been made through the trans community. We support each other, we cry with each other, and we lift each other up in ways that can’t be described in words. These are people who get you in ways cis people can’t and that can create a really beautiful bond. With the help of technology, that community is also more accessible than ever which makes it even better. But what really makes this community unique is our incredible resilience. There is so much working against us, but we still wake up in the morning, go about our day, and fight like hell for our right to exist. The community resilience is what gives me hope when I feel hopeless and gives me strength when I feel like I can’t move on.
Creativity extends beyond the what we traditionally think of when we think creativity. Trans folks get creative with gender on a daily basis and while there haven’t been studies on this, I believe that makes us more creative in every aspect of life. Whether it be clothing, makeup, binding, hair dos, mannerisms or whatever, we play around with every facet of gender until we find something that feels right. I’ve found that this has helped me get more creative with problem solving, writing, critical thinking, etc., which will benefit me in countless ways that aren’t explicitly related to gender.
Coming out as trans is a beautiful, empowering, and incredibly challenging thing to do. The first step in coming out is making the realisation for yourself which requires a deep level of self-awareness. Connecting to that authenticity and discovering your true self is something many people don’t ever even think about. It’s almost magical to see that transformation happen within yourself (that’s a sugar-coated version, but remember: focusing on the positive here). What’s even better is that it’s an ongoing process of connecting with and embracing your authentic self. The more you get to know and embrace yourself, the more you learn to love and enjoy life which is a beautiful thing.