November is Transgender Awareness Month, a time to honor our vibrant transgender and gender non-conforming community, celebrate the progress made for transgender rights, and recommit to ending the unacceptable – and, unfortunately, widespread – discrimination still faced by transgender people.
I thought it appropriate to ask some of our Transgender community members what this month means to them (Photo by Alexander Grey).
To be acknowledged with a month honoring transgender individuals within mainstream society is humbling and appreciated. For those of us who were part of the fight for the better part of 50 years, we have finally been recognized. This is due to a collaborative effort of so many individuals like me who live and work hard every day as our true selves. I spent most of my adult life in fear of rejection, discrimination and even death. Our community has a long road ahead to continue the fight for equality and the vision of total acceptance regardless of lifestyle and gender. I never considered myself homosexual, but it was the only label that worked and the only safe space for me. When I found the courage to transition, I did so with an ability to blend in because I had guidance and support. This month should be recognized by anyone who is like me, aspires to be included and deserves to live as their true self. There are no mistakes. We are born as humans. Our genetic code comes from birth. It is a choice to accept it and live it. Many believe we chose this. That is not the case. Mother Nature and whatever God you believe in chose this for us. The path was set before we could walk or talk. Our parents, peers and surroundings didn’t change us. Society tried to contain who we are and labeled us as not normal. I say, “we are who we are” and “define normal.” This is my normal.
Transgender Awareness Month is a critical time to educate others on the Trans Community. This month is also a time to remember those trans individuals that have lost their lives to anti-trans violence/hate, culminating in the Trans Day of Remembrance that occurs every November. While we mourn the loss of our trans siblings, we also take the time to educate others about our community. Intersectionality plays a large role in the trans community and is celebrated during the month of November. Not every trans person looks the same, acts the same, or goes through the same transition process. It is important to celebrate the diversity of our trans community- be that ethnicity and race, age, cultural background, and how they came to be who they are today. This month allows me to celebrate my own journey and the journeys others take to live authentically.
November is Transgender Awareness Month. This means all month we take action in Educating ourselves and our allies about the history and challenges we as transgender individuals face every day, as well as celebrate the individual authenticity of those exploring their gender identity.
November is a monumental month and pivotal in our ongoing transgender movement. As an advocate and the Executive Director of a Trans-Led Organization, during this month we honor our siblings who are doing great work to advance our movement; and we memorialize those that have lost their lives due to senseless violence. Unfortunately, as a Black Transwoman who transitioned over 30 years ago, we did not have a month and/or opportunities to bring awareness to our struggles or highlight our resiliency. To me, this month is about strength, courage, resilience, and empowerment.
Growing up in the 1950s, I was unaware that there were any other people like me. It was very difficult to relate to others in my neighborhood with whom I had nothing in common. Today our young transgender people have resources that I never would have dreamed was possible and I am grateful to see that they do not have to go through the isolation I was put through. Transgender Awareness Month brings to fruition an avenue to discuss the difficulties transgender people go through and the joy that is derived from being supported by others. In today’s polarized world there are forces determined to turn us back to those ugly days before we were allowed to be open about our feelings. The antidote to such poison is to make people aware that we are not hideous monsters who prey on children and stalk women’s restrooms. To the young transgender and gender non-conforming people I wish you the best and trust that society will ultimately accept you as a productive and essential member of society. Remember, the truth ultimately wins over fear.
This month is important because we as trans people are making ourselves visible and known. As a child I grew up not knowing actually what a trans person was. Now knowing myself as being trans and being able to educate others on myself is a positive thing for me. I love November because we as trans people can show people who we are, what we are, and how we live our lives. In November we as trans people gets a chance to show the world that we matter, and we are part of today’s society making changes and a positive impact in the community.
November means many things to me, as a man of Transgender experience. It’s the time of the year when most LGBTQIA+ organizations and communities center and put focus on my community, in other words we are finally ‘seen.’ Everyone has a Transgender & GNC event. TransSocial & The Mckenzie Project opened both our Trans & GNC centered “First Trans centers in South Florida, one in Miami and the other in Broward. Awards are given to honor Trans folks and our many dead are remembered. Every year the numbers shake us and remind us of the dangerous world we live in and how brave those of us that choose to be activists are.