I offer a confession & promise on this Transgender Day of Rememberance


This blog is going to be a bit of a ramble because I’m typing it on my iPhone without an outline.  Please forgive me in advance. It’s going to be less coherent than others, but I invite you to follow long with me as I delve into a personal path of enlightenment and growth. My hope is that as that’s readers will grow along with me.


img_2414I’ve been busy this weekend. A normal weekend is usually filled with me lounging around in the comfort of my condo in North Charleston, South Carolina with nary a care.  I may play with my corgi, Trinity, or watch a bunch of videos. This weekend though, I’ve been completing long put-off chores as well as peddling “truth and facts” on social media in my very personal fears and anxiousness with the incoming president and his intended appointees.  As I laid down for the evening and checked my Twitter feed, I realized I’d forgotten that today was a very important day.  Today was Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I count myself lucky to have three trans friends who love me in spite of my ignorance on issues facing transgender people of the world.  They forgive me more often than they should. I was privileged to be in the inner circle of friends of one of my friends amidst the beginning of transition.  blog-foot-in-mouth-photoI often misgendered him in the beginning.  He probably forgave me more often than he should have. My personal embarrassment and apology, I felt most times, was woefully inadequate. Still he forgave me and the friendship continues to this day.  I’m honored that he counts me and my husband among his close friends.

Getting to know these three over the years has made me more acutely aware that we often don’t do nearly enough to acknowledge the fact that trans people are too often noticed through negative news.  Such circumstances as North Carolina’s HB2 and teen trans suicides are the only times that trans people come up in the news.  Other times it’s the demonizing of celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox & Chaz Bono in mainstream media.  I can’t quite express in words how sad this makes me.

Noted blogger, John Palovitz, retweeted a post from The National Trans Police Association

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Seeing this immediately brought me back to a loss in the trans community two years ago this  December. Below is the Tumblr note left by Leelah Alcorn.  As a Christian who has been taught to love all people everywhere, it still hurts now as much as it did when it first appeared in my Tumblr feed.

If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

‘At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

Goodbye,

(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

I still cry when I read this. I want to look in Leelah’s eyes, hold her hand tightly and say, “I am so sorry we (Christianity) did this to you.  It’s not fair. I love you very much and please stay for a while longer.”  I can’t though.   She reached a point where she thought she had no way out other than the final way out.

I promise to re-double my efforts to bring love, safety and security in my corner of the world. As for my house, it will be one of complete and utter love, safety, security and laughter. I promise that there will always be a cold drink in the fridge and a place to lay your head or a shoulder to cry on when it gets too difficult.  I promise I’ll pay attention to what’s going on and you won’t even have to ask for help. It’ll just be there.

It’s now 21-November as I wind down this rambling post. Trans Day of Remembrance has ended. The duty of remembering those we love hasn’t.  I would encourage you to reach out to your trans friends and tell them how much they are loved in this world.

Peace+

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