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It’s Been A Long, Hard, Painful Year For The Trans Community

But finally, some light is breaking through

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screengrab from HRC YouTube video, The Human Rights Campaign Endorses Joe Biden for President 2020

Even though not all of our readers (or writers) live here in the United States, I think it’s safe to say this year has been difficult — on many fronts. Here in America, the 2020 election was a huge source of fear and exhaustion, especially for the trans community. And though we’re finally able to celebrate a Biden/Harris victory, many of us still feel like we’re on high alert, 24/7. And we’re keenly aware of the hard work still ahead.

We aren’t out of the woods yet.

But with this election, we at least closed the door on bigotry. We ended a chapter that declared open season for discrimination against marginalized groups — who are supposed to be protected under the U.S. constitution. With this election, the actual majority of American people were heard (as opposed to the “silent majority” in 2016), and this time, we overwhelmingly rejected the tenets of Trumpism, including all the debunked conspiracy theories that go with it.

This difficult election season was only made worse by the fact that it came on the tail end of a steaming hot, four year dumpster fire — four years that felt more like a decade under a presidential administration so cruel and bigoted, the National Center for Trans Equality dubbed them “the discrimination administration.

Both the HRC and the NCTE (two of the U.S.’ most prominent LGBTQ+ advocacy groups) proudly endorsed the Biden/Harris ticket. And with that, history was made, because it was the first time the NCTE has ever endorsed a presidential candidate, ever.

Both former Vice President Biden and Senator Harris participated last year in NCTE’s “Transform the White House” series and sat down for interviews with Executive Director Mara Keisling. Biden and Harris wanted to tell the trans community, in their own words, how they are dedicated to forwarding the rights of LGBTQ people, particularly, transgender people. Watch both the Biden and Harris interviews here.

“The idea that someone can tell you that you can’t be who you are in your heart and soul is just wrong.”

— President-elect Joe Biden

2020 America also saw a righteous moral uprising, with many Americans flocking to the streets to demonstrate, march, and protest the horrific, unconscionable modern-day public lynchings of black people by police officers and others in positions of power.

Image: Martie Sirois

Of course, because of intersectionality, it can’t be understated that black trans women are the most vulnerable demographic, and the most likely to be brutally assaulted or murdered, just for trying to live their daily lives.

HRC has been tracking the numbers since 2015, and sadly, 2020 has already seen at least 34 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means, the majority of which were Black and Latinx transgender women. HRC notes the reason why they use the phrase “at least” is because “too often these stories go unreported — or misreported.”

And still, for all of us around the world, a global pandemic rages on.

What inspires me daily is the tenacity of trans people. From every corner of the world. Willing to risk it all, just to live unashamed and authentically, wherever they may fall under the broad trans umbrella.

With TDoR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) coming up soon, I want to pause and remember the names of these 34 transgender Americans (that we know of) who lost their lives in 2020 to unimaginable hatred and bigotry, and also, the names of these 350 transgender people worldwide (that we know of), who were mercilessly taken from us in 2020 as well.

Image: Martie Sirois

Highlights

Here are some stories that were first published from August-October that we featured in Gender from the Trenches. Click on the titles to read more.

August-September

Am I Just “A Man In A Dress?”
Post-transition disorientation is real. Here’s how I responded to a friend suffering from it. By LAURA-ANN MARIE CHARLOT

Ten Facts About Being Trans
As a 62 year old trans woman, here’s what I’ve realized. By Emma Holiday

Struggling with Gender Identity During Quarantine? You’re Not the Only One. There aren’t as many expectations to perform as your assigned gender these days, by Ellie Rebecca

She Wants To Be The Woman
Answering the questions they always ask, by Jas Martinez

Gender and Sexuality Are Not Rigid
I view them more as a wriggly fluid line, and it’s beautiful. By Robin Kyrie

I Don’t Want To Be More Male, Just Less Female
Sometimes you have to turn down the noise to hear that you are enough, by Shayla D. Potter

When Can I Have My Femininity Back?
I tried to wear a skirt the other day. It just didn’t feel right. By theoaknotes

The Gender Binary of Fashion
Rethinking how we support an unnecessary clothing binary, by Chaidie Petris

My First Curse: An Exvangelical Trans Woman’s Journey to the F-Word
I was willing to change my gender before I was willing to say the word “Fuck.” By Nia Chiaramonte

Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, 12 Guys & a Girl
A weekend with old friends added some stark reality in the considerations and consequences of transitioning MtF, by Joanna Miles

How Far Does Being Trans & Queer Define Me?
A lot more than people assume. But it’s still only a part of my whole being. By Mick Tilio

A Letter to Gender Dysphoria
Something you need to know… by Imani

We Don’t Belong In Boxes
Stop putting labels on us. By Robin Kyrie

Casting My Binary Safety Net
Sometimes, they/them pronouns aren’t enough. By theoaknotes

How To Actually Decrease Trans Suicide Rates
Not only do we need inclusive & universal health care, we also need social respect… now. By Jazelle Garzeski

CD Projekt Red’s Blatant Transphobia Is Troubling
What does Trans-Cyberpunk actually look like? By Claire Michelle and Zoe Omega

Thinking Female; Speaking Male
On a past where keeping my silence meant keeping the peace, by Emma Holiday

A Reminder to Myself of My Privilege
While I often raise the negatives, I want to present what areas of privilege I have. By Robin Kyrie

“Do I Still Sound Like Me?
It’s been three and a half months on T, my voice is changing, and I’m scared… but still, I’ll welcome it. By theoaknotes

Transgendering Your Life
(or, did Albert Brooks lay a moderately successful film on a foundation of the transgender experience?) By Joanna Miles

“Will You Get A Clicky Dick?”
Intrusive, awkward questions trans* people get. By Robin Kyrie

October-November

Ah-hem! May I Have the Floor For A Moment?
An ad-hoc mentoring session for self-identified masculine young folx on embracing their unique superpower, by Shayla D. Potter

My Alter Is Trans But I’m not. By Amy Geliebter

You Don’t ‘Need’ Hormones To Be Non-Binary
There is no one, definitive, “right” level of hormone — or prescription pathway — for non-binary trans people, by Robin Kyrie

Why I’m Getting Top Surgery
From a transmasculine nonbinary individual’s perspective. By theoaknotes

An Open Letter To My Trans Son
We battled Cystic Fibrosis. I figuratively buried my daughter, celebrated the birth of a teenage son, and I’ll always choose love. By Kat Quinn Porco

The Mask
A poem, by Jas Martinez

The Six Times I Did Not Tell My Mom I’m Transgender
I only wish I’d found a way to talk to her about the daughter she never knew she had. By Joanna Miles

28 Top Surgery Tips From A Recently De-Boobed Person
You’re about to do an awesome thing. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help get you ready. By theoaknotes

Buried Alive: Digging Up My Gender Identity
I found myself a long time ago. I’ve known myself since I was young; I just kept putting her somewhere safe — while others tried to bury her. By Nia Chiaramonte

Freedom! Why do I need to physically transition? By Emma Holiday

Dysphoria: My Beloved Darkness
Darkness is the quiet in which we can understand what was hard to hear in the noise of the light. By Som Paris

A Reflection: 2 Years After Coming Out As Transgender
Two years ago today my path forked, and my life changed forever, by Nia Chiaramonte

Please Stop Saying You’re “Worried” About Trans Kids
Let’s talk about what you’re *really* worried about instead, by Martie Sirois

Rude But Affirming Behaviors: A Transgender Woman’s Entry To WomanhoodIt’s unfortunate that it took transitioning to really understand how women are treated as second-class citizens — and that this treatment is something that also confirms my womanhood. By Nia Chiaramonte

Dealing With Unwanted Attention From Men When You’re Transmasculine
It triggers intense gender dysphoria as well as severe anxiety and fear. By Ellie Rebecca

Do Parents Always React Negatively to Hearing Their Child is Gay?
An observation of my mother’s reaction and feelings to my coming out, by Shayla D. Potter

A second look

In case you missed these, here are some stories we think deserve a second look!

So this is a bit of a different tune… by Joanna Miles

Almost Everyone Knows I’m Bisexual. Almost No One Knows I’m Non-Binary.
I’m queer in more than one way. By W.E. Massoud

I am a Coach. I am Transgender.
The importance of LGBTQ+ visibility in sports, by Kaig Lightner (Published in “An Injustice”)

Be sure to follow us on social media!

GftT on social media

Now’s a great time to follow us on social media, if you haven’t already! Here’s where you can find us:

Twitter: @FromGender

Facebook: GenderFromTheTrenches

Instagram: @gendertrenches

If you aren’t currently a writer for GftT but you’d maybe like to be? Let’s talk! Read over our submission guidelines here first, and if you’d like to contribute something just let me know!

And as always, if you have an idea for something to offer GftT’s monthly(ish) newsletter, “Spill the T,” please reach out; I’m all ears!

Please take good care and be safe, be good to each other, and most of all, be good to yourself.

Til next time, live authentically ~

In Solidarity,

Martie Sirois, Editor-in-Chief, Gender from the Trenches

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Martie Sirois

Martie Sirois

Covering the intersection of culture, politics & equality. Featured in Marker, HuffPost, PopSugar, Scary Mommy; heard on NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast, etc.