I've been following Cleo's life up close for 18 months, and we're still shooting. I even moved in with Cleo and her straight boyfriend, Nelson, during one of my trips to Kampala, getting to know them both as human beings and as friends. Having been forced to live apart only to find each other once again in a foreign country, their love story is a true inspiration.
Over the course of these past weeks, I have experienced more profound doubt about my gender transition than at any other time since I earnestly began my journey last December. As the anniversary approaches, I cannot help but notice the gradual yet significant decline in social acceptance, which appears to correlate with becoming visibly further feminized.
We are asking courageous New York City Council members to exercise their oversight power by passing the Right to Know Act, which would strengthen police accountability and transparency by requiring officers who stop us to identify themselves.
"There's a lot of stigma in the general population," says Tampose Mothopeng, a human rights defender from Lesotho, who's been described by NPR as "young, idealistic, and transsexual."
Recently there has been a spate of blog posts raising the specter of transgender people regretting transitioning. They cite their two favorite studies, without actually looking at what the actual studies said, and drag out some old anecdotes. Let's deconstruct the arguments being trotted out one by one.
What is most interesting to me is what it's like to be transgender on a daily basis. Is it really that big a deal? Are most people liberal enough to see past one small part of somebody's identity? How does this play out every day? Since I spoke to Freiya, my eyes have opened to things that would not even have occurred to me.
When teachers are graded on their performance, there is rarely enough time to assess the out-of-classroom impact they might have on students as a result of such intangible qualities as personality, patience, tone of voice, and willingness to listen.
November 20 marks the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. Prior to Fowler's death, the list for 2014 included more than 70 names from around the world.
I am the fortunate parent who lives in awe of her 15-year-old child, whose courage and conviction to live authentically in a largely unfamiliar and often less-than-friendly world is humbling. And as she has grown into herself, so too have those around her.
I would like to return to the post that generated the most debate and heat, "Burying the Lede: The LGBT Community's Deafening Silence on Federal Transgender Employment Protections," which provided in-depth background about the most momentous federal trans-rights advance in our history, and the community silence that followed. It struck a chord.
Sometimes the fear of consequences appears so great that we hold on to tradition much longer than we need to. That was surely the case more than 100 years ago when the revolutionary idea of higher education for women was introduced. We are at another such groundbreaking moment now as women's colleges face the decision of whether and how to admit transgender women.
Besides struggling to accept themselves, which is hard enough, transgender individuals face higher rates of suicide, homelessness, addiction and discrimination. And when it comes to getting help for substance abuse issues, trans people face a unique set of challenges.
There aren't a lot of Bible verses that are directly applicable to transgender issues, and of those there are contradictions and a lot of room for interpretation. What does it say about your soul if you're willing to gamble the lives of other people's children, to put them at extreme risk of great or even fatal harm, on faulty assumptions?
This is by no means a complete list. Most transgender deaths are unreported or lost due to misgendering. I should also point out that not everyone agrees on which types of deaths ought to be included in such lists. I've included domestic violence and suspicious deaths but excluded suicide.
As trans people of color, we must be empowered to walk away from organizations that do not hear our rallying cries and our petitions, that pass us over for promotions again and again. Every day, new organizations serving trans people of color are popping up that empower our communities. Let's do better at supporting them.
The first time I heard Reina Gossett speak, she took my breath away. Having just finished my first year of law school, I was caught up in the type of reform narratives that are cognizable to our legal system. Ideas of formal equality, rights, democracy, and participation had already started to replace my notions of justice and revolution.