Today is Trans Day of Visibility.
I identify as genderqueer or non-binary, as I have talked about some. Some. It’s not something I’m keeping a secret, but it is something that is hard to talk about in some contexts. It is harder to talk about with people who have known me for twenty or thirty or forty years than it is with new folks, because I have this fear of upending their notions of me, the understanding that they may feel they have. It feels almost like admitting to a lie, which is both accurate and inaccurate, because insofar as my simple maleness was a lie, it was a lie to myself as well as everyone else.
Visibility is a difficult thing. Some trans folks are highly visible, and thank goodness for them, because that is not easy for all of us. One thing that I rarely see talked about is the way that introversion and extroversion impact on living closeted or coming out with one’s queerness. LGBTQIA folks are often pulled in multiple directions on visibility, because while being “seen” by “mainstream” culture is important for engendering empathy and understanding, it is not safe or comfortable for everyone. For trans people it can be extremely UNsafe, especially for trans people of color. Based on a 2013 report, 72 percent of victims of anti-LGBT homicide were transgender women, and 67 percent of anti-LGBT homicide victims were trans women of color. (Source: http://www.bustle.com/…/87452-5-shocking-facts-about-transg…)
This is not the Trans Day of Remembrance, when we honor our dead. But these numbers are part of visibility. Trans people are here, and trans people are in danger. The rights of trans folk to simply USE the fucking BATHROOM are under attack in many states, and make no mistake, this is not about making trans men pee in the ladies’ room or trans women pee in the men’s room. The people sponsoring these bills don’t want that either. These bills are an attack on trans people’s right to exist; in essence, they are just another way of saying: “We want you to go away.”
Which is why today matters. Which is why I am writing this post, to claim and declare my trans-ness. I am here. We are here. We will not go away.