transgender day of remembrance

{for more, visit these blogs: gudbuytjane, scattermoon, shemale}

i'm glad someone alerted me to this day, because i think it's important. i'm gonna go around the barn a bit to make this point, so bear with me...

there are many things i'm grateful to my parents (and extended family, for that matter) for, and one of them is how they allowed me to make up my own mind and be myself.

there weren't constant discussions or indirect jabs at groups of folks simply because of who they were--well, ok, maybe white folks. but i didn't get drilled about how it was so "wrong" to be gay or what have you. not even in church. no one in my circle was obsessed with the sexuality/gender expression of others.

in fact, my mother often talked about a schoolmate who she believed killed himself because of the isolation he faced for being a gay man, and often expressed annoyance at homophobic folks. the impression i got from my dad was that he didn't "get it", but there was no seething discomfort or hatred.

so, when i made cis-glb friends as an adolescent, it wasn't a big deal. i hated when i would hear and see people make fun of them for even the *perception* of queerness. i didn't understand where all that was coming from, and besides, who cared?

my given name starts with "les", so i got called a "lesbian" in middle school. little did they know it wasn't the worst thing i'd been called.

when i went to western--the oldest, all-female public high school in the u.s.--i got the "don't come out a lesbian..." speech from my friends going to zoned and/or co-ed schools. this, despite the fact that, while attending western, i only met a handful of girls who openly identified as lesbian and/or queer. so, apparently, just the notion of all us girls being stuck in there together was a problem.

it wasn't until much, much later that i had any concept of what it meant to be transgender, although i'd seen elements of it all my life.

i think many cis-glb folks as well as cis-straight folks wind up never knowing.

once i did learn about it, it didn't seem like a huge deal, either. certainly not a reason to hate anyone or deprive them of a well-lived life. on the other hand, i immediately understood the implications in the wider society.

i've learned a lot since then, and i'm grateful to all those who have taught it to me. when i think about the people who are dying because of transphobia, i realize that many of them look like me: women of color. i realize that cis-men of color are often killing them, just as they are often the ones killing my cis-sisters.

that hurts me. and it scares me that people have become so close-minded, so unaware and intolerant--or, more accurately, horrified--of all the possibilities of what it means to be human, to have a spirit, to go beyond the boundaries of physicality, to slip out of binary definitions of gender.

so, today, i pray that those who have lost loved ones are healing.

i pray peace for the spirits of those who have transitioned, particularly under violent circumstances. i pray peace for those who were forced to live lonely, unfulfilled, or without a true home while on this plane. iba t'orun.

i pray that transgender youth are finding safe spaces to be, to love, to grow.

i pray that cis-folks--straight and otherwise--open their eyes.

oppression only benefits the oppressors. remember that.


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