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What I wish for this Trans Awareness Week
This is my first Transgender Awareness Week as an openly non-binary person, which feels like a pretty cool accomplishment. But if you’re not in my shoes--if, say, you’re a trans person who has been out for years and has been subjected to a lot of abuse, or a cis ally trying to make things better for us--you may not think that that’s such a big deal. I would agree with you, since every year, we’re still left with not much change.
So these are the things I would want to see by this time next year.
I recently saw a statistic that was very disheartening. Even compared to binary (male or female) trans individuals, non-binary trans individuals (like me) have an even higher rate of unemployment. I worry a lot about expressing my identity wherever I get my first job. What would happen if I asked to use my new name and/or pronouns? Would I be able to bind? If there was a shorts day, would I be able to show my hairy legs? Precluding any of this, are my potential employers seeing my social media feeds, where I am openly trans, and shaking their heads?
Many states still do not have in place non-discrimination policies related to trans needs in the workplace, and this must change.
Here's an article about job discrimination with transgender employees
- The Hardship And Discrimination Plaguing The Transgender Community In the Nation's Capital | ThinkPr
The situation for trans people in D.C. is not good, but the solution is simple: jobs.
The second matter sounds simple, but is a horrendous nightmare for many trans people like myself: going to the bathroom. It’s something you, my cisgender readers, take for granted. If you have to do your business, you walk to the nearest restroom, labeled male or female, and take care of it. But a trans woman using the women’s room could be accosted, or worse, subjected to verbal or physical violence, simply for needing to pee. What about me? I look like a woman, but I have hairy legs and might soon be binding my chest. So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to not get called out, but I may not be so lucky in the future. Is it too much to ask to have gender neutral facilities for someone like me? Trans people shouldn’t feel as if their lives are on the line every time they need to relieve themselves.
Also, if you've heard about the myth that "men dress as women" to get to little kids in bathrooms, it's just something Republicans made up in order to pass anti-trans laws.
Perhaps the most pressing issue involves transmisogynistic violence. It’s something so dire that Laverne Cox and Senator Al Franken teamed up to beseech the FBI into investigating it. Below is an image featuring a sample of trans women murdered this year.
Often times, the “crime” these women have committed involves walking down a street, dating a cis-hetero man without disclosing they were trans, or turning to sex work to survive.
Non-binary and gender non-conforming people also get killed, simply for being different. It’s time that this stops.
Finally, there needs to be a more welcoming and accepting view of non-binary trans individuals. I am not out to destroy gender, force an agenda onto anyone, or make mayonnaise a gender. Please don’t call me a “special snowflake” or a “Tumblrina” just because I insist you respect my identity and pronouns. It’s not hurting anyone. Other trans people are just as guilty of doing this as cisgender people are. I’m not trying to make you look bad. I’m not cis and just pretending. I simply don’t feel like one or the other, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
At the closure of this Trans Awareness Week, may you beam with gender euphoria and exist in a space where it’s safe and fun to be you.