Check Your Fear at the TDOR

As a transgender man, Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) brings mental snapshots of fear and violence. Thinking back on the violence I endured, particularly during my years of being homeless, I feel grateful to be able to call myself a trans survivor.

Granting mental space for fear and hatred can quickly become debilitating; I believe it is in this way that transphobia is victorious. Transphobia does not come from any one person. Morgan Freeman once said, “You’re not homophobic, you’re just an asshole,” but he was wrong. Misunderstanding fosters fear, and unacknowledged fear fosters hatred.

No matter your past, I invite you to think about how much love everyone has inside them. If you don’t believe people are fundamentally good, I invite you to think about the potential for tremendous happiness and personal growth accessible to everyone.

On Trans Day of Remembrance, I grieve for all who have lost gender-non-conforming loved ones. The person(s) lost were indeed far too extraordinary for words. The complexity of the pain felt may be just as impossible to explain. To those who know this pain first-hand: I know you shared a very precious kind of love with that person, and I grieve with you. Thank you for continuing to hold space in your heart for the one(s) you love even when there is pain.

Trans Day of Remembrance is a day when I invite everyone to pause and think about the courage and resilience required to be gender non-conforming.

Inside everyone there exists a vast, extraordinary, and hidden world. Trans people become aware of their inner worlds because of how society externally denies their identity, but that doesn’t mean that cisgender people don’t have the same kind of vast inner worlds. Everyone deserves to explore their inner worlds in their own time.

On this day, instead of dwelling on misunderstanding, fear, and hatred, I invite you to take a step back and try to feel love and compassion toward the trans community. In this way, we can open our hearts so that we may better understand each other.

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