More media everyday During the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing more trans* people prominently mentioned in the media. It seems I can’t open an Internet news source without seeing Caitlyn Jenner strutting her stuff in designer clothing, big sunglasses and followed by crowds. I also read recently about Nicole Garcia, a 58-year old candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the work and challenges a transgender, latina faces. In Ocala, FL where I work, the June 2015 edition of the Ocala Magazine featured three trans* people, telling their stories and discussing their and our challenges. One of the women in the article named only as ‘Vicki’ talked about how personally destructive she was due to the mental anguish of gender dysphoria, something all trans* people understand. More exposure for us everyday means more to learn and more to understand for everyone.
Critically Important Journeys I’ve been hearing the figure that 700,000 transgender people are in the United States. I’ve also heard the number is closer to 1.5 million. I’m going with the larger number as I personally know two trans* people who will never be counted and I know you out there do too. That’s a lot of us! Each of us are unique and alike. Each of us have our own struggles and our shared pain. Each of us are on a critically important journey of living honestly, deliberately and with our own purpose.
One journey does not matter more than another Does Jenner’s journey matter more because she’s living in the global spotlight? Does Vicki’s matter less because she is living peacefully and quietly as the woman she is? Will the impact of Reverend Garcia’s life be any bigger than that of my friends who have chosen to live their lives as the gender assigned to them at birth, but know, understand, accept and love who they are? No! All we do and know and understand and share, whether in total exposure or blissful anonymity is important.
The impact all of our journeys Everyone of our 1.5 million lives and journeys matter. Each one is critically important to the lives of all trans* people. If that life is spent as a media darling showing a global society what it is like to hide in plain sight for 65 years and then transform under the spotlight, that is important. Preaching a sermon in front of a congregation as a trans latina and loving your life is important. Living as your assigned-birth gender, but sharing via the internet and meetings and commenting on and writing about and helping a terrified middle-aged whatever I was, is important. Being happy and no longer self destructive is important.
All of us are critically important All that we do and who we are is vital to the life, liberty and happiness of our community. We each share and give in different ways, but it reaches and ripples to us all. Sending a e-mail to someone you’ve never met, but telling them you understand the confusion and anguish is equal to being on a national news program and talking about our true selves. It is what we do to preserve ourselves and by saving our own lives, we help to save us all.