To my friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances,
Your genuine support and allyship is invaluable. I would not be where I am today without you. You have made my journey doable, and in many ways, amazing.
But I need you to think of the 1.4+ million other transgender individuals in the United States. You’re their ally too and they need your support, in many cases more than I do.
- 41%: the percentage of transgender individuals who attempt suicide
- 80%: the percentage who consider it
- Job loss, evictions, and lack of medical care: completely legal realities of many in the community
- 400%: the increase in likelihood of a transgender person to be living in poverty
- 7: the number of transgender people killed as a result of violence in the first 10 weeks of 2017
I challenge every one of you to check off every item on this list between now and Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st. Do it for me, and for the millions of others.
1. Get Educated – Check Your Facts and Rethink Your Assumptions
Gender identify is different than sexual orientation. Do not ask me what my name was at birth. Surgery is not required to be transgender. Transgender women of color need everyone’s support. Do not ask me what’s in my pants. Bathroom laws pose a serious threat to us, and there are some truly terrifying pieces of legislation in the works.
Do some research and educate yourself. Some of us, myself included, are happy to sit down and have an open conversation with you, but that is not the case with everyone, and it is not our duty to hold your hand.
2. Write/Call Your Senators (Even Just 1)
The HRC website has a handy tool for locating your elected official. Find the ones in your area and pick up the phone.
My last post had over 900 views. If every one made one phone call, think of the impact we can have.
3. Follow A Couple Facebook Pages
Check out and follow some of these and other Facebook pages. Seeing this content in your news feed every day will help you to stay informed.
4. Share Content, Speak Up, Spread the Word – Become an Advocate
As you’re educating yourself and opening your eyes to the content that’s out there, SHARE it! Share it on Facebook, email it to a friend, get a shout-out into your next employee newsletter. As you see/hear conversations taking place around you, speak up. Help to correct the assumptions and misunderstandings of others.
Be more than a quiet ally, be an advocate.
5. Show Up – Attend an Event or Volunteer
If you live near Grand Rapids, we have a few trans-specific events coming up during the week of Transgender Day of Visibility (check out www.grpride.org/tdov for details). Alternatively, attend a march or stop into your local Pride Center to offer a few hours of your time.
You have 10 days. Get to work.
* When sharing, be sure to speak up and support us without speaking for us. Though we need your voices, it’s not your story. If you want to chat more about any of this or what it means, connect with me on social media and let’s continue the conversation.