Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I am excited that this Sunday, I will be speaking at the LI TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance). Not excited in a good way but just, enthusiastic. I have seen and heard the injustices that the people who are transgender have had to endure not just in the healthcare system but also at home and in their jobs. I have read the e-mails of angry family members who say things that are hurtful and ignorant. As a bedside advocate, I have seen how medical professionals ignore that a patient is called “he” and insist on using “she” even after being corrected. Now we will hear the names of many of the people who are killed just because they are who they are. Many others live with the pain put upon them because of who they are.

Kids can sometimes be cruel. But this isn’t about kids. I remember as a young girl in school the first time someone made fun of my nose. I can remember who said it, how it was said and where we were. It was one of my early memories of being ashamed of – me. I always felt too fat, too ugly and never smart enough. And, throughout my school days, I was, more than one time, reminded that that something about me wasn’t perfect. Yet, I never feared for my life.

I never felt that I would be embarrassed as an adult of my looks or fear someone would find out what was under my clothing. I couldn’t imagine, if I didn’t read the hate mail for myself , that adults can be so cruel. I would like to assume that these mean adults with hate in their blood live in a certain place or work in a certain profession but, just as we can’t always know by looking at someone if they were born male or female and have changed the way they present, we won’t know what kind of mean and venomous thoughts and ideas go through someone’s head when we meet them.

Hopefully, events like TDOR will inform the public that transgender people are real, may be your friends and neighbors and may actually end up in the bed next to you if hospitalized. But, where ever you meet someone who is transgender I am certain they will not think less of you because of the way you look and will not judge you or let you judge yourself. For the first time I feel just fine, just the way I am.

I hope you will come, if you can and learn about this group of people with open hearts and open minds.

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