Psst. Over here. I’ve got a little surprise for you.
Are you sitting down? Are you ready?
Here goes: I’m a transwoman. LIVING AMONG THE UNSUSPECTING HUMANS!
OK, maybe not such a huge surprise.
Today is the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Like the other major event on the Trans Calendar every year—the Transgender Day of Remembrance—today is all about sharing. But unlike the dark and somber day in November, when we take stock of our losses and mourn our dead, today is a celebration. It’s about owning our identities, and embracing the lives we deserve. It’s about encouraging others, and breaking boundaries, and sharing with the people we know and love the best, most honest version of ourselves.
Today is a day when a lot of folks will be talking about Geena Rocero’s new organization designed to fight for transgender equality and civil rights around the world. We’ll be talking about the inspiration we find in strong and brave women like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock, who not only own their womanhood, but refuse to put up with being demeaned or made into a curiosity by those who can’t—or won’t—acknowledge their worth.
And some of us will find a little time (as we do) to talk about ourselves. I’m a transwoman who at, just two years shy of 40, finds myself still working on things I thought would be long settled by now. But that’s probably true for anyone on the cusp of 40; what I would like to focus on today is the fact that I’m doing what I love—writing and editing and basically raising a ruckus—and getting paid to do so. I’ve managed to write and publish two books under my own name, and many more under a pseudonym. I am not the healthiest person, but I’m working on it. I’ve got friends and family whom I adore (and, having taken leave of their senses, adore me in return).
Life as Claire is good. It’s getting better all the time. And to anyone out there who’s in the closet, on the fence, or otherwise arranged by a preposition in relation to a wooden object, wondering if there’s a life to be had as a transperson, on the day when we shout from the rooftops “I EXIST!”, I say yes, there is.
It’s scary, and exciting, and occasionally deadly dull (as most lives are). But most importantly, it’s an HONEST life. One that lets you look the world in the eye and say, “I will not build walls between myself and the world—nor will I allow them to be erected in my path.” (You don’t have to be so dramatic about it, but seriously, it’s a good feeling. Try wearing a cape while you say it.)
Today is a celebration. And if you’re feeling scared, or confused, or even just curious, I encourage you to read this pamphlet from the HRC. It’s a good place to start for anyone who knows—or is starting to understand—that they’re trans. It’s also a really helpful tool for anyone who has a trans* person in their life, and wants to help, and understand, and support them.
Trans* folks are more visible than ever before, and I truly believe that it’s a good thing. Good for the countries of the world, and good for a species of angel-stuffed apes who too often think in binary. It’s my sincere hope that, as the years pass and trans* folks become not only visible in, but vital to, our collective understanding of what makes a healthy and happy society, we will have more laughter and love to share each March.
And far, far fewer tears to share come November.