My life is proof that we can change the future of thousands of youth forced into homelessness by simply valuing their lives, making investments into their futures, and recognizing that they are worth more than a few bucks and some leftover lunch. I am worth something -- and so is every other homeless youth.
Jenner's message reached across the board, and my hopes are that Bruce's interview, his truth, his explanation of who he is today and where he plans to go in the future with "her," has reached people who resonate with his journey. I hope this will push further discussion, acceptance, understanding and most of all, empathy.
I want to caution that for all the drama, excitement, enthusiasm and analysis sparked by the political dimension of the marriage equality debate, there is also a deeply personal dimension that is easy to overlook. It is the collateral damage of systemic homophobia that accelerates when marriage equality is in the news cycle.
From one sentence I realized, it's not for me to understand something I can't naturally relate to, but I must be compassionate. No one owes anyone a detailed breakdown of their personal and private experiences (especially when it can be so hard to put into words). The message is: I don't feel like my true self.
At every LGBTQ training I give, people are the most interested in one thing: trans people. So what is transgender? It's a persistent feeling that your gender does not match the sex you were assigned at birth. Evidence leads us to believe we are about .5 percent of the population, or one in every 200 people.
There is a pervasive cultural myth that all gays are rich, and that all Asian Americans are overachievers. Individuals who identify as LGBTQ and AAPI are therefore often assumed to be better off. However, these misconceptions all too often mask real struggles and hardships faced by LGBTQ AAPI communities.