I've been trying to write this blog for a while. Each time another death happens, I sit myself down to write, but it's too hard.
In the last year, the trans community has suffered from an epidemic of violence, both physical and psychic. Black trans women are targeted and murdered for who they are. And so many trans youth have been lost in the last few months.
It's hard to write about these tragedies without falling into sadness or anger, or without inadvertently raising the visibility of the victim's deaths over their lives. It's also hard to write about it without knowing exactly how, as a cis-gendered ally, to make it better.
But we don't have the luxury of time. And so, as an ally, I am choosing to begin by writing about the urgent importance of loving trans people, particularly trans youth, some of whom tragically never had the opportunity to live out their full potential, including their capacity to love and be loved.
As an ally, I can create a culture of love for trans people by not only bearing witness to their deaths through vigils and protests, but also celebrating their lives and many accomplishments. By bringing that intentionality into my choices about what I post, quote and write about online, including amazing opportunities in the last month such as the Transgender Day of Visibility and Trans100, an annual list of 100 trans people doing amazing things.
I can advocate for love for trans people, by making sure our laws protect them, not target them, by calling my state legislators to support trans anti-discrimination laws, conversion therapy bans, as well as laws that address the problem of trans youth homelessness.
I can help protect the trans people I love by using my cis-privilege for good, including by serving as an active bystander when needed.
I can help change society's feelings toward trans people toward one of love, by talking to people outside my bubble about the richness and resiliency of trans lives. I can start that by talking with my in-laws the next time I see them about some of my trans heroes, and seeing where the conversation goes.
Finally, I can support love for trans people, particularly by supporting organizations that foster love for trans people, such as Camp Aranu'tiq, a camp where trans and gender variant youth can simply be themselves and be loved.
Maya Angelou, may she rest in peace, once wrote: "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." Through these words, Ms. Angelou teaches me that anger cannot conquer transphobia -- only love can. Her words help me choose love over anger despite our enormous recent losses. Of course, anger is an important motivator to action. But it must be the means, not the ends, if we are to truly achieve love and justice for the trans community.