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.
This needs to end now. Those of us with the resources to fight in any way need to continue to stand up to those who are actively working to see more trans people dead, and we need to be absolutely present with those trans people who, at any given moment, may have fewer emotional or material resources than we do.
The state is unwilling to define reparative therapy and denial of medical care to transgender youths as abuse. We cannot change what religious leaders are preaching, nor do our voices carry enough weight to effectively gainsay their religious messaging. A radical new direction is needed. Therefore, I propose an emancipation project.
I've been asked many times before if I fear that my son will "change his mind." What if he "decides he wants to be a girl again"? What if I made a mistake by allowing him to transition at such a young age? I know that without walking a mile in my shoes, it's hard to understand. So let's pretend my child wasn't born to be transgender.
When asked what I did on YouTube, I used to say that I made videos to help other trans youth. However, the truth is that everyone who has reached out to me has helped me. That's what is vital about community; it hasn't been a unilateral mentoring relationship but a let's-help-one-another-and-see-what-we-can-build-together-from-this partnership.
Last year I attended my first Transgender Day of Remembrance. My teenage trans daughter had been out only six months, and no matter how much we loved, accepted, and supported her, there seemed to be so much hatred and pain lying in wait beyond our front door. Throughout the entire vigil I wept openly and profusely. So this year I had not planned to attend TDOR.
As a suicide-prevention organization, The Trevor Project knows how important it is for young people to feel accepted for who they are and know that someone out there cares about their future. That's why we're standing alongside national organizations, colleges, and communities nationwide to help raise the visibility of trans* people and the unique issues they face.