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Lived Experience

Friday marked the end of Transgender Awareness Week.

You might be thinking, “I don’t know any transgender people. Why does this apply to me?” The truth is that gender diverse people don’t look a certain way. We could be your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or even that stranger you chit-chat with every morning going into work.

Maybe you have met a transgender person and you weren’t sure how to approach them, or how to ask that burning question you have. Look, we get it. You’re curious. Maybe this is all very new to you, or maybe you know a little bit but still aren’t sure who to ask your questions to. Understand that gender diverse people should not be expected to be a walking encyclopedia on related issues and identities. Some just want to live peacefully in a world that accepts them.

This is one of the many reasons why Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society was formed. The gender diverse people on our board live out and are visible so others don’t have to be. The adage we support is, “Nothing about us, without us.” If you want to learn more about gender diversity, reach out to organizations who have gender diverse boards. Read articles, medical journals, memoirs, etc. written by gender diverse people.

Consume media created by gender diverse people, starring gender diverse leads. This matters because there’s a lot of misinformation out there about transgender people, and it affects us directly. It’s important to know the source of the information you share, and what the purpose of it was.

When we misgender a pet we always apologize profusely so why can't we do it with people? This is a sad reality for many gender diverse individuals.

During my adolescent years I was able to teach people I worked with, lived with, and close friends what it meant to me to be transgender. I had the chance to help people understand that we do not have a disease, we really aren’t crazy! We are just as normal as a cisgender (meaning not trans or gender diverse) people, we just have different paths that we are walking down in life.

I chose to help create TANAS so that people like me could have someone with lived experience to talk to. I did this so the community would have someone willing to share their story, and lay the foundation for the next generation.

People really just want to be loved and to live their life without ridicule and discrimination.

So, please. Think before you speak. Think about how you would treat someone’s child. Because we’re all someone’s child, and we all deserve love and respect. The generation of tomorrow depends on it. Rome wasn't built in one day but it is 2017. We aren’t asking you to be perfect. We’re only asking you to try.