Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'
- Bob Dylan
How many people do you know?
Really! How many? Just take a minute to think about it.
How many people's paths have you crossed or intersected with throughout your life?
In school, each year you most likely had different classmates.
How many people work in the same company that you do? How many do you know by name? How many you know by sight? How many you see, know they work there but may have never had a conversation with?
How many people do you shop from each day? Perhaps it is just buying a cup of coffee or a sandwich for lunch? Do you ever pass a stranger on the street, eye contact is made and perhaps even a smile appears on one or both of your faces?
What total did you come up with?
Was it 10, 100, 1,000 or more?
Were you surprised?
June 30, 2016. Los Angeles, CA -- An estimated 0.6% of adults in the United States, or 1.4 million individuals, identify as transgender, according to a new study authored by researchers at The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. The study provides the first ever state-level estimates of the percentage of adults who identify as transgender throughout the United States, ranging from 0.3% in North Dakota to 0.8% in Hawaii.
This past June, the Williams Institute actually doubled the previous estimate that has been used for a number of years regarding the prevalence of transgender people in the U.S.A. Needless to say, taking an accurate count of trans folk has never been a task that is easily accomplished. The reasons for this are numerous, but include fear and shame for many individuals and their place in all of their relationships and society.
I personally find the new estimate that has doubled, from 0.3% to 0.6% of the adult population, a significant event, although my own sense is that it still may be conservative.
However let's put this in perspective. What does 0.6% of the adult population mean to you?
So, let me ask you once again... how many people has your very own journey crossed paths with in your lifetime?
There is a common understanding -- whether it is true or not that most of the population states that they do not know a transgender person.
In November and December 2013, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) asked 4,509 U.S. adults if they had a close friend or family member who was transgender. Nine percent of respondents replied "yes" while 89 percent said "no." An additional 2 percent said "don't know" or refused to answer.
Over the past few years, the LGBT community has found itself in a new war. The transgender community is fighting this war on at least two fronts: acceptance and understanding.
Neither acceptance or understanding should be based on someone's judgments of who we are, yet there are many that are stuck in that judgmental space.
We will win the war of laws -- of this I am sure. It has not been and will not be an easy battle, but we will win. You don't need to be a math major to see this.
Transgender people are much more common than anyone has known.
We are your mothers, your fathers and your children.
We are your aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews.
We are your grandparents and your grandchildren.
We are your teachers and your students.
We are your doctors, and your lawyers and your pilots.
We are your soldiers, and your sailors.
We are your neighbors, your shopkeepers.
We are your friends.
I am pretty sure that when you counted how many people you have known in your life, you came up with at least 167. There is a good chance that your own journey has intersected with a person who is transgender. Perhaps you never were aware of it. Perhaps they were not even aware of it at the time your pat's crossed. Nonetheless, it may well be true.
Transgender people are all around you, and as the times are a-changin' more and more of us are gaining self-acceptance, and "coming out" and being seen. Many of us are more than happy to help you understand our own unique journey.
Some day soon, I expect the estimate to be double again, and perhaps again. Maybe we will be one in eighty or one in forty. At some point it will not be news each day. We will be accepted as just the person we are who happens to be transgender, and not be judged for that part of our identity.
Yes, the times are still a-changin' -- and this is a good thing...
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'
- Bob Dylan
Grace Anne Stevens inspires people to find their truth and live their authentic life! She is an inspirational and motivational speaker specializing on intra and interpersonal relationships. She is the author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, and Musings on Living Authentically. Grace is available for speaking to all groups who would like to learn the values of, and how to live authentically. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .
Grace will be presenting EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GENDER TRANSITION IN THE WORKPLACE BUT DIDN'T EVEN KNOW TO ASK at the SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference in Austin on 10/26/16. https://conferences.shrm.org/conference/2016-diversity-inclusion-conference-exposition/session/everything-you-wanted-know-about