March 31st marks the International Trans Day of Visibility, and in modern times, this seems to be more important than ever.
Since time immemorial, the hijra have been recognised as a third gender in South Asia. But even though they were once revered as seers and still are called to bless babies, and such, they are ostracised and made to live in the edges of society. They are discriminated against when trying to apply for work and often have to resort to unsafe sex work to even make a basic living.
In some other countries, like Malaysia, for example, the transgender people are hardly even tolerated, often facing violence and are even murdered for who they are, and they have no legal protection. There are examples of success stories, of course, but those usually have left their oppressing countries to make a life somewhere else.
In the USA, this year alone, a staggering number of 492 anti-trans bills have been introduced in 47 states. Of these bills, 25 have been passed, and 424 are still active. And it is only the end of March! These laws are aimed to cut down human rights from transpeople and, in some cases, even force them to de-transition.
If this kind of persecution and dehumanising continues, more and more transpeople are being forced back to the closet and into the shadows, which means more and more mental health problems – and illegal and unsafe medical procedures and medications.
But what I know is that if we, as people and humanity, don’t stand up to defend our fellow humans’ rights to exist as who they are, we are all doomed. Would we want our children to grow up in a society that might deny them rights just because they don’t fit in the mould set up by some old men who want everyone to be just like them and cannot tolerate different views of the world from theirs.
Earlier on, I wrote a blog text about a trailblazer, Cristina “La Veneno” Ortiz and the effect she had on the popular culture and the LGBTQ rights in general. If we didn’t have her on TV, maybe the Spanish society wouldn’t be as accepting of sexual minorities as they are now. If we didn’t have Laverne Cox on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” maybe there wouldn’t have been “Pose” on HBO. Who knows.
If we allow these kinds of anti-trans laws to be passed and multiply, we are facing a situation where families with transchildren are forced to relocate or to find underground doctors who may or may not have their medical licences intact. These children will face discrimination in schools and will not have a protection of law because the law states that they cannot exist.
Sometimes the only thing we need to do is to smile at someone to save their day, and maybe even their life. But oftentimes we need to do more, we need to actively show our support and love to our transgendered friends and family members, and even those who are currently strangers to us. They need us as much as we need them to make the puzzle of life a complete one. And if a staggering amount of transpeople, up to 43%, have attempted suicide, the need for support, acceptance, and love is acute.
For years, I have thought that it takes a lot of strength to survive as a gay person in this world, but having been a part of the journey of my Wifey, I have realised that the process of transitioning to who you are and to whom you should be is harder and tougher that anything I have ever gone through. And when we both come from a generation where things were not as open as the society is today… that does carry with it some burden as well.
The worst part? I can only stand by next to her and feel helpless when she has to go through the anguish.
Another worst part? Being afraid that some stupid lawmaker decides that she is no longer valid as a person and forces her back to the state where she would no longer be happy and alive.
The best part? Being able to stand by her to support her and to love her each and every step of her way.
And another best part? Having her as my wifey, because she is my rock in this tumultuous modern world and I love her more each and every day.
If someone you love comes out to you as a transgender person, don’t panic. Seek knowledge from your local LGBTQ groups and associations. If they consider hormone therapy, assist them to find a doctor who understands their needs and accompany them to the clinic if they want that.