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.
This is an opportunity to educate the general population that discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, which encompasses tens of millions of people, is illegal and harmful to the bottom line. This is an opportunity to humanize and overcome ignorance and fear so that there is no desire to deny employment in the first place.
A professional actress, Milla is taking time off to prepare for her "final cut" in Thailand. Her transition is nearly complete, and life right now seems better as completion approaches. But what is "better"? How can I possibly understand? Life as a transgender person is not easy anywhere. In India life for transgender people is hard, but in some ways it is strangely better too.
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.
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.
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.
Last Thursday at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, HRC President Chad Griffin apologized for all the problems between HRC and the trans community for which HRC had been responsible over the years. He was specific and demanded to be held accountable. These are words the trans community has never heard before from HRC, certainly not in public.
Last week my friend, Professor Jenny Boylan of Barnard College, penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled "Trans Community Can Change Minds by Changing Discourse." She uses the promotion of marriage equality as the gay analogue to what the trans community now needs. With all due respect, I think she's got it backwards.
It is time for the New York State Senate to do the right thing and stop transgender New Yorkers from being treated like second-class citizens. It is time for Gov. Cuomo to become an integral part of this historic moment in transgender rights and call for the Senate to bring GENDA to a vote. It is time for GENDA to become law.
In Isaiah, God calls us not to live in fear. At first blush this may seem to be a callous or trivial response to what is in fact a horrifying reality. But the prophet who wrote these words and the community that heard them were living through the floods and fires of their own terrifying circumstances.