Today is Transgender Visibility Day. For those who are not surrounded by the diversity of humanity, this may seem trivial. Some may even be offended by the recognition given to those that they consider wrong or broken or defective.
The truth is, someone you know is likely either hiding who they are or “passing” and you don’t have a clue. How do I know this? Well, because as we move closer to acceptance of people as they are, and safety in numbers begins to make folks feel safer, more and more are feeling comfortable enough to say that they are trans or non-binary.
In the last year alone I have had at least five people that I know say that they were non-binary and more than a few who came out as transgender.
Still, there continue to be an inordinate amount of violent deaths involving transgender people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 12 transgender people have been killed in 2021.
I have family who is transgendered and non-binary. I have close friends I consider family who are transgender and non-binary. I encounter people daily who are one or the other. Well, not so much right now seeing as I’m not leaving my house daily.
So, what do you need to know about these folks?
- They’re just people. They aren’t sick. They aren’t deranged. Just folks going through life the best they can.
- It’s none of your business what is or isn’t between their legs. Even if you’re sharing a bathroom with them.
- They don’t have to “pass” for their identity to be valid. A non-binary person does not owe you androgyny. A transwoman does not owe you perfect beauty (whatever that is). A transman does not owe you top surgery or binding of his breasts.
- When in doubt about someone’s identity, use they/them pronouns. It’s a perfectly acceptable non-gendered way of speaking about someone. Yes, even a singular person. We’ve been using a singular they in English for centuries in certain contexts.
- Just be kind. Let them be who they are. Don’t try to force them into some pre-conceived notion of who you think they should be. Let them pee in peace. Let them play sports.
To all of you who identify somewhere on the gender spectrum that is not either of the cardinal points: I see you. I love you. You are safe with me.
And now I’m off to the day job…right after I finish my coffee. Love to you, Readers!