I want to breathe. I want to breathe. I want to breathe.
I wrote these words while straining desperately against body dysphoria, constant misgendering, new barriers to healthcare, prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization. I wrote these words to be heard, felt, seen, and experienced. By other people, but also by myself. I needed to see my determination written down and given voice. I needed the words to be visible, even tangible, because last week I felt myself drowning in pain.
I am here. I exist. But I also must want to persist.
It is difficult to want to keep fighting. Barriers to equity and equality are systemic and pervasive. They're insidious, often presented as, "Oh, I forgot. It's just so hard to remember that you...," thereby blaming the victim of prejudice for the prejudice itself. I am not placing an undue burden on anyone by desiring to be respected. But I know the world is unkind. And it is particularly unkind to people who exist outside of predetermined margins. Transgender people, queer people, people of color, we are those who do not fit neatly into the expectations of the dominant majority.
Yet, we should not have to clip our wings in order to be valid.
And I am not the only one who refuses to be invisible. We are many. We are they, the ones using our talents to carve out space through words and creation. We will not be erased. We will not be canceled. We will speak, and write, and draw, and photograph, and paint, and compose, and perform, all in the fight to make ourselves known. We have endured and persisted until this moment and we shall continue to endure and persist for we are resilient. Resilient because we must be. Resilient because we will not allow our sorrow or the world's ignorance to destroy us.
June is Pride month and I choose to be proud. Trans-proud. I am many things, but it is this part of my identity that I will give the most voice to this month. It is the part of me most often wounded, but a part I treasure deeply.
To be trans* is to be so beautiful it catches the world unawares.
This month, I choose to celebrate being transgender* by finding community and by uplifting my fellow trans* writers and artists. Finding community is especially important when you feel so many are against you, and it is equally important to me that I not only carve out space for myself, but also for my trans-siblings. I will be posting features of other trans* artists and writers on my social media this month, interspersing my own experience as a queer and trans writer. I do this so that we can uplift each other. So that we can be heard. So that we join, follow, become community. For the journey toward equality is long.
And no one should go it alone.