Today is Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) where we stop to think about all of the people in the last year that were killed for being who they are. There are at least 238 people in the US that were killed in the last year. For being trans*. In the last year. 238 people are dead. There are more, but it’s hard to say for sure how many there are. But there are at least 238. I can’t imagine what it would be like for their families and friends. Last spring when I started a women and gender studies course (I had to drop out due to having another tumour and having another surgery) we watched this documentary called Middle Sexes: Re-definining She and He. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it. I’ve seen it a few times.
My class knew I was one of the only trans* people on campus. I started there last fall, and then last spring, there were three of us. Now there are two. I was the only trans* person in the class. I had never seen the documentary before, but it started with a murder, and the mother of that child crying because someone killed her daughter because of who she was. It said that 50% of trans* people don’t live. Half of us don’t make it. We either commit suicide or we are murdered.
My parents biggest fear is that someone is going to hurt me. I’ve had a gun pointed at me before. It was scary. I had been out for about two weeks. Some drunk guy outside the gay bar pointed a gun at me and a few others and called me a tranny. Thankfully, the police came. Police circled the bar for a while. And I thought, I could die for being myself. I knew that in high school. I’ve always known that. Odds are against us. But I know that the alternative equals my death as well. I could be murdered. I could be. I hope like heck I’m not. I don’t have a death wish. But I know that if I had continued down the road I was on, if I had continued living the way I was, as a woman, I would have certainly died. Maybe not physically, but emotionally and spiritually.
I was chain smoking. I was drunk weekly. I was failing out of school. I was so numb and when I wasn’t, I was doing anything I could to feel something other than emotional pain. I had someone that I thought was a friend take advantage of me when I wasn’t sober. Because he was curious. Because I wasn’t in a position to say no.
I attempted suicide five times in high school and once more in college. I haven’t in nearly two years. But I remember the times I was trying to be feminine and trying to fit in and trying so hard to not be who I was, and I’m amazed I did make it this far. I tried drinking myself to death right before I came out. All I did was black out and wake up with a hangover. But the intentions were there. I remember thinking that I was so terrified that I would be killed for it. I remember watching Boys Don’t Cry in high school. I remember going to my old college’s TDOR vigil in the few months before coming out.
But then I thought I’m already so close to dying and I’d rather live my life as a man and try to live it as me, on my own terms, even if that meant that I didn’t make it out. Because say I did live the rest of my life as a woman. It wouldn’t be a life at all.
Yes, I’ve come a long way. I think that a lot of it has been coming to terms with things, and finding people that accept me. I’ve been getting involved with trans* people in NC and it has helped. I stay in contact with my queer friends in Minnesota. I see a gender therapist weekly. My mother has become one of my biggest allies. I don’t feel like I’m suffocating anymore. I’ve been on testosterone for 8 months.
Yet I’m at one of the most dangerous places in my transition: the noticeably middle part. I’m also not in a safe area. All of my doctors and everyone that works with me has told me to hold on until September when I can move. Things are getting better, but we still have such a long way to go. I shouldn’t be forced to leave a town out of fear for my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never really felt an attachment for where I’m living, but something is very wrong when everyone says lay low and leave town when you can. Because I’m trans*. There is something very wrong that we have 238+ dead. That next year we will meet up again and remember those that didn’t make it. Because 1 in 1000 murders in the US is a trans* person and 50% of us don’t make it.