I aim to make images that bash through binaries and the notion that in order to be officially transgender, you have to have surgery or take hormones. I perform trans not as something about a crossing from one sex to another but as a continual becoming.
I'm told that, oddly, the resentment toward white queer people taking up residence in Harlem has been expressed more openly toward black queer people, in the form of homophobic and transphobic slurs and attacks.
When a media outlet calls a trans woman a "man," I'm not surprised. When a website asks trans children questions about "the surgery," I'm not surprised. When a television network feels the need to include a trans person's "real name" in reporting, I'm not surprised.
When I learned that my insurance would pay for my top surgery, I thought the deal was sealed, but I faced two unanticipated limiting factors while preparing for surgery: (1) finding a surgeon willing to work with insurance, and (2) fitting the profile of a "properly" insurable trans person.
Like most other transgender people, I have experienced discrimination, shame, rejection and even hostility for living in accordance with my true self.
What happened to Islan would not have happened to me. As a trans person of color, it would be really easy for me to say that it could have, but the reality is that even though many of my FTM friends and colleagues are at risk, we are still less likely to be murdered than trans women.
We must face the fact that in the year 2013, despite or maybe in part because of the progress that we have seen in marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, it is dangerous for a gay or transgender person to walk down the street in any city or town in the United States of America.
For me, a transgender writer and thinker, this represents the core gain of a distinctly trans field of study: its ability to center trans people as active agents in defining their worldviews, rather than as the objects of others' research or criticism.
When I see my cousin asserting his comfort with calling his (presumably straight male) friends "faggots," I do not feel directly afraid of my cousin, but I feel afraid of the culture that both he and I are surrounded by and respond so differently to.
Fast-forward to Fox News' recent decision to use the song to denigrate Pfc. Chelsea Manning. As with most attempts to do this, the media got the song completely wrong: The song is not mocking a man for looking like a lady; it's describing the sex appeal of a transgender woman.
When most of the media refused to recognize Pfc. Manning as a woman, there was an outpouring of criticism of that action. Subsequently, both the Associated Press and The New York Times decided to violate their previous editorial policies. Here's the problem.
I don't count any transgender women among my close LGBTQ and feminist friends. I'm not proud of that. I'm also not alone.
I'm a regular viewer of "All in with Chris Hayes" and I was equally loyal during his stint on "Up...". In all that time, I've never seen either a trans guest or a story that's directly relevant to the trans community appear on his shows.
Today, the AAPI and LGBT communities are visible, marching alongside African American and Latino communities, in the continued struggle for equality and opportunity.
For transgender Americans, though, full participation in public life still eludes us.Transgender people are now lagging far behind the LGB community in nearly every measurable area. Open service, and the implicit recognition as full citizens it conveys, is our best opportunity to start closing it.
As a lesbian, I am often faced with people who are certain that I am living "outside" of "God's will" for my life -- simply because of my sexual orientation.