It's that time again!
When we take stock of what we have walked through the year before and what we want to accomplish in the year ahead.
2018 was undoubtedly a roller-coaster of experiences for our community as we navigated over tsunami sized rises and falls.
On the plus side, we celebrated:
World Health Organization removes all trans-related categories from ICD Chapter on Mental & Behavior Disorders.
Vermont Gender Free Restroom Law
Anchorage, Alaska Defeats Anti-Trans “Bathroom Bill”
Illinois Birth Certificate Law
California’s LGBT Seniors Bill of Rights
California’s Name and Dignity Act
California's Gender Recognition Act
The Election of Lisa Bunker & Geri Cannon as State Legislators
POSE Debuts on FX Network and is recognized at the Golden Globe Awards
And on the minus end, we survived:
The worst year on record for fatal assaults against transgender Americans, particularly Transwomen of Color.
Trump Administration considers attempt to erase recognition and protections of transgender citizens.
The Trump Administration announced an implementation plan for its discriminatory ban on transgender military service members.
The Department of Education announced it will summarily dismiss complaints from transgender students involving exclusion from school facilities and other claims based solely on gender identity discrimination.
The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule that encourages medical providers to use religious grounds to deny treatment to transgender people.
It’s hard sometimes within this climate of discrimination and distain to stay excited about the victories, but what I have to do, is channel that energy into positive momentum and do what I have been well versed at all my life; whenever I’ve been told that I couldn’t accomplish something, I dig in my Taurean heels and say “WATCH ME!”.
In living as a lesbian woman throughout the 80’s & 90’s (yes, I’m that old) I fought alongside the Gay & Lesbian community for equal rights.
Now, today, I fight with my Transgender Community for recognition, respect and basic human dignity.
When I first realized that I was Transgender at 32 years old, I was so fearful of what I could stand to lose. There were no laws in place at that time to protect me from being fired from a career that I had built over a 25 year period, there were no health insurance benefits to assist me in medically transitioning. As a matter of fact, it was only in 2018 that my employer’s health insurance began to cover Transgender Services and I was finally able, after 11 years of transition to afford Top Surgery. And for the first time, I feared the thought of someone taking offence to who I am and causing me harm.
It’s up to us as a community especially our youth, our future leaders and the ones that are going to take care of us elders as we age, to be proud of who they are and create even more change.
I urge our Trans-Youth to get to know their Trans-History, as it is important to know where and how our community came to be, our place in the origins of LGBT Rights and that we have indeed always been here.
I originally started Transgentlemen’s Quarterly as a medium to share information with transmen in my age range, but I quickly learned as parents began to approach me, that the information I was sharing, was also important to the younger generation and their families. It was assisting them in understanding some of what they or their children might encounter as they mature on this journey.
Being the Grandparent of a 12 year old young man, I see first-hand how nurturing and acceptance can change the self-esteem of a child and how easily their spirit can be crushed when not feeling understood and alone.
The HRC estimated that 30% of trans-female teens and 42% of trans-male & NB Youth attempted suicide last year. They also sadly reported that 67% of the LGBTQ Youth they polled reported that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people. This makes a huge impact on our children in how they feel about themselves and others.
And as for my generation and older of Brothers and Sisters, we need to be able to rest easy that we can retire and receive the same vital healthcare, housing and financial support as any other elder in the country. We shouldn’t have to worry that we and our life-partners will face discrimination based on who we are as individuals and be denied resources.
So, now that I have made sufficient use of my virtual soap-box in reflecting on the year past, it’s time to share on what Transgentlemen’s Quarterly has on the proverbial “To-Do List” in 2019.
With your help, we have made a little traction in the virtual community. This year will see a concerted effort to get more involved within our physical community. TGQ will be participating in more Community Events in 2019, as well as supporting more Community Based organizations.
Within our online and social media platforms, there will be a renewed commitment to bringing you fresh and relevant content, that although will still be focused on the more mature demographic of our community, will hold gems of information and support to our younger Trans-Siblings and their support systems.
We are all in this struggle together and will only be truly victorious, by supporting each other and fighting together as a whole community. My hope is to see more of my Trans-Brothers out there and visible in the trenches with our Trans-Sisters. We need to be counted and recognized, in order to show society that we are here; we’ve always been here and will always be here!