Because of my experience my sense of sisterhood extends to trans women in a way it had not before. Trans women and cis women are each other's Phoebes. I am so glad that we're hearing more of our trans sisters' stories.
A few months ago I was filling out an online customer survey. Under "gender," in addition to "male" and "female," there was a third option: "other." I thought that was impressive. Then Facebook came along and added 50. Bravo, Facebook, bravo.
One day I met a man who helped me redefine what my sexuality means to me. This guy, whom I will refer to as "James," was attractive: He had this way with words, and a smile that took my breath away. James happens to be transgender; he was assigned "female" at birth.
I am cisgender and identify as gay. These are not things that I chose. But I do choose to be an ally to my trans friends and colleagues because I want everyone I know to be treated as they want to be treated.
You can be a trans ally in a lot of different ways; there is no one, fool-proof guide. I spent some time researching and putting my own experiences as an ally down into a list of 'bare minimum' criteria.
The cisgender obsession with transgender people's sex organs indicates that cisgender people don't really know enough about what defines their own state of being. Quite frankly, if as Couric says, "it's still a mystery to some people," then go read a biology book or Google it.
"What exactly does it mean to be transgender? Why do they want to change their sex? Why can't they just be gay or lesbian?" These are some of the questions I so ignorantly used to think about transgender people. But I am a firm believer that ignorance must always be replaced by education.
On Christmas I took the day off from researching corporate law and watched whatever programming our cable TV provided. And that programming contained a seemingly disturbing amount of "manliness," whatever that means.