Trans Day of Visibility 2022

Today is Trans Day of Visibility and while not all trans people want to be visible, I am very happy that I am. A lot of people are sharing before and after photos but for me, there never was a true before and after. I have always been trans, there were just phases of my life where I didn’t have the language to access that part of my authenticity. From a young age I was very gender non-conforming and I adopted that label quietly in college at age 20. It wasn’t until 2014 though that I finally began to see myself as Genderqueer and falling under the Trans umbrella thanks to help and advice from other genderqueer folks. At that time I was still trapped in an abusive marriage so I couldn’t come out publicly. But in 2015 I finally escaped and with that freedom, claimed the first parts of my true identity openly.

My path to coming out was slower than many people because I was so scared of not being accepted for who I really was. When I first learned about trans women in college, I didn’t think I belonged in that category because I could never “pass” and I thought that to be a woman meant you had to be primarily attracted to men. I didn’t have access to the kind of tomboyish, lesbian-leaning gender and sexuality that I needed. Even when I came out in 2014/15, I was afraid of even attempting to be treated as a woman because of all the negative self-talk about my body and ability to change those features. So for many years, I kept my beard as a way to hide the parts of my face that were most dysphoria inducing.

Slowly by 2018 though, I accepted that I am a woman, even if I am a gender-nonconforming, nonbinary tomboy, and I started to take the medical transition steps that I needed. I started hormones 4 years ago this month which is one of the best decisions of my life. My body quickly began to change shape into the beautiful curvy shape I am now. And in October 2018, I finally took the scary step of shaving off my beard and facing the long uphill battle of hair removal.

Now I am nearly complete with my physical transition. I am still trying to get insurance coverage for the last remaining hair removal I need to be able to stop shaving occasionally but my surgeries are finished and my body finally reflects what I want to see. I am so happy that my face has softened and rounded out and that my breasts have filled in and give shape to my clothing. Getting here was a long hard path but now I get to reap the reward and enjoy myself more. I still have mental health challenges, but I no longer feel ugly all the time and avoid looking at myself in the mirror. I appreciate the body that I have, even if it took modification to get here.

Thank you to all the people that have supported me on this journey, both emotionally and financially. Being trans is hard and expensive at times but the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow is definitely worth it.

Me today in March 2022
Me in 2016 before my physical transition

Reflections on Trans Day of Visibility

Today is the annual Transgender Day of Visibility. A day dedicated to celebrating trans people while we are alive and appreciating trans excellence.

But for many of us, this year feels particularly hard. While we have recently enjoyed many of the benefits of being more visible in media and politics and the allyship we have gained from intersecting communities, that visibility has also come at a high cost. Violence against trans women of color is at an all time high. And the political right has chosen to make our identities a wedge issue, pushing forward hateful and harmful legislation across multiple states and at the federal level. The horrendous laws in Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Tennessee have targeted trans teens in particular, excluding them from sports and gender-affirming care.

If you are cisgender, I encourage you to take some time this week to read about the issues facing our community right now such as the scientific evidence supporting trans youth in sports and find ways to act to support your trans colleagues, friends, and trans youth across the nation. As a starting point, I recommend reading this brief article from The Nation about how Visibility Alone Will Not Keep Transgender Youth Safe. I also encourage you to find transgender-led advocacy groups to donate to such as Seattleā€™s Gender Justice League and the grassroots Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network Fund.