What a difference five years have made When I first came out to my wife five years ago, she immediately jumped on her laptop computer, typed in ‘transgender’ and was shocked at what she saw. She was inundated with pornography. The good, safe sites were outnumbered ten-to-one. Her first thought was, “All my husband wants is sex!” because that was just about all she was seeing. I struggled for a very long time, finally convincing her that being trans* was who I was and that it was not sexual. I remember clearly asking her not to jump on the Internet because what she was going to see a lot of has nothing to do with me.
The Internet is our friend Today I Googled ‘transgender’ and there were page after page of safe links, information, news stories, articles and trans* resource material. I’m sure if I continued to look, I would eventually find questionable and/or offensive material, but after four pages of hits, I was happy at what I was finding. When the Internet was young and we were all dialing in at 9,600 baud into AOL, it was a sparse place for finding information of any kind. Today there is an explosion of material fit for your mother and your children.
There’s sad news out there Along with a lot of excellent resources, I found a lot of news stories that detailed abuse, violence and death of members of our trans* family. With more recognition and awareness the wrong done to us is also news. Additionally are details of the challenges we face as far as discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare and social services. The realities that we are ten time more likely to be victims of suicide and there is a high number of homeless trans* youth who have been kicked out of their homes for just being themselves. We can’t expect to make strides in our recognition and acceptance without making the world aware of our struggles.
There is joy to share Every few days there are reasons to celebrate and rejoice. Just last week I came across a story in The Huffington Post, The Whittington Family: Ryland’s Story. Please stop whatever you are doing and watch this amazing story here.
So much good to share Where I was once terrified for anyone I cared about searching the Internet, now I am a contributor and an advocate. I speak with members of our trans* community from far flung places and hear how the Internet is their primary link to our community and for information. Where we were once isolated and alone, we are now connected. Our community grows because we can reach out at any time, find safe and accurate information, find people with whom we can interact and get to know and also share our stories.