Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If Gay is the New Black, then Trans is the New Gay.

I am privileged to serve on the Board of GetEQUAL along with Autumn Sandeen, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a transgender American. She contacted me this week for help on an upcoming project. Happily, I was able to oblige her request. I wrote Autumn the following response. I share it with you here, because I believe that as a community, we need to stand in greater solidarity with the “T’s” in LGBTQ.

Dearest Autumn,

A very dear friend of mine Allison Annalora recently completed her final surgery in her transition process. The actual physical transition process was far less difficult than the psychological and emotional part of her transition. Allison told me of gay friends who suddenly stopped speaking to her when she announced her intent to transition. She faced hostile attempts from some people at her work place and from some clients to force her out of her job. All of this, as difficult and painful as it was, pales in comparison to a lifetime of bigotry and induced self-doubt. It is a testament to her spirit that she is still with us today sadly, many others are not. You think that would be it and a happy conclusion would follow, like a sunburst after a terrible storm. However, Allison still faces the pain of rejection each time she goes on a date with someone. She uncompromisingly insists on telling her truth to anyone she dates, before going out. As a result, she has suffered many painful moments. I reassure her that dating is shopping for a mate and you would not want someone who will not love you for who you are. Allison agrees, but still wrestles with much heartache because of her honesty.

All of this illustrates the reality that "coming-out" is not an event, but a life long process and the most difficult person to come-out to is ultimately yourself. I hope that because of the uncompromising honesty and courage of people like Allison and Autumn Sandeen, the next generation will not have to endure these pains. I hope that because young people today can see people like themselves they will not feel alone, or that they have no options in life. These benefits for Trans-veterans are much more than they appear, they constitute a public acknowledgment of the human dignity not only of Trans-veterans, but also of every human being that is struggling with gender identity. As such, legal recognition is an important first step towards social acceptance and ultimately to the inner peace we all desire for ourselves.

It is an honor to stand with you against injustice and bigotry.


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