Going from an abject refusal to accept oneself to pride is a very long journey which is now almost complete for me. I used to see being transgender as the person who is missing a limb and adapts to this reality in the best way possible. But over time I have come to understand that this difference is not as much aberration as a condition which bears the price of having little statistical weight. It is like the person born with an eye color that is very rare.

The fact that our reality is not seen as positive has less to do with objective truth and more with the breaking of social conventions which are not made to accommodate us and, because we are not numerous, it is easy to dismiss our claim to legitimacy with counter arguments of mental illness and depravity. This is pushed by those who cannot abide that we be allowed to form part of the normal fabric of society even if we have always existed and will continue to.

Being part of tiny sliver of society has its challenges but that should not be regarded as a handicap as much as a clarion call to become even more entrenched in who we are. The more we become visible and outspoken, the more people will see that there is little to fear and may grow to like and even love us.

For a long time, the transgender community created its own loathsome hierarchy as a method of self-protection steeped in fear but that became counterproductive because those looking in couldn’t see our own divisions as clearly as we thought we could. This infighting did us a complete disservice but then along have come the millennials to undo the heavy prejudices that the baby boomer and previous generations were exposed to. They have begun to forge a new way forward.

As far as my personal journey is concerned, I have finally come to see that there is no purpose in fighting your own nature because it is not as aberrant as we were taught. Hence, it is possible to adopt pride as we shed the weight of our oppressive educations and look at our true selves in the mirror. Hopefully, what we see should make us realize that we are not nearly as bad as we once thought.

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  1. I agree, we must be visible, stand up and be counted. Like blacks did, gays, and other minorities, we are facing ignorance and bigotry and bullying. That is, we are facing it if we choose to be ourselves, real in society. I just finished Brene Brown's most recent book "Braving the Wilderness". Below is a quote from it that really resonated with me:

    "Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

    True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are."


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