I told the students I have been with my partner Janis for 13 years, and that we have three young children. I never mentioned my transition or used the words "lesbian" or "transgender." I just let them draw their own conclusions. Then I asked if I might do an audience participation exercise.
Visibility is what the trans* community needs. It's a factor that is so paramount in our struggle for acceptance and our rights. Despite the rich history of PrideFest in Tower Grove Park, it's time that the trans* community take back to the streets and venues as we did in the past.
Recently I asked a number of transgender and cisgender friends the following: If a transgender person does something that may reflect badly on the trans community, is their personal freedom of expression more important than expectations to conform?
I'd gone to mixed martial arts training and boxed with cisgender guys, and no one had had any clue that I'd been designated as "female" at birth. I don't hide the fact that I'm transgender; I just don't see any reason to bring up my trans status with that group. Allow me to explain.
The co-directors of WSU's 11th annual production of The Vagina Monologues have included two original pieces: the story of a "genderqueer" person who struggles with their relationship with their vagina, and the story of a non-op trans* woman who wishes she had a vagina but cannot.
It's up to trans* people to be proactive and make certain that our individual and collective voices are heard loud and clear by the public and the media, and that we continue to be written into the record of queer history.
Just as telling my co-workers that I am transgender was necessary to making progress in my transition, opening better dialogue with would-be allies is necessary to making progress on transgender issues. Bridging the gap requires both sides to adjust how they do things.
Today is not only Easter for those of faith but also Transgender Day of Visibility, a day of positive reflection for the trans community. But many trans people prefer to remain in the shadows, and Arizona's "bathroom bill" will not not do anything to help them feel more welcomed in society.