“Mom and Dad, I’m trans.”
With those words, my world view tilted and shifted into a very different place. And I am forever grateful.
Today is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, founded by activist Rachel Crandall in 2009 to celebrate transgender people, shine a light on the discrimination they face worldwide, and celebrate their contributions to society.
So I’d like to do all three.
Nearest to my heart is my funny, fierce, and fabulous daughter, who has enriched our lives immeasurably just by being who she was born to be. She displays courage and joy every time she walks out the door, and we could not be more proud.
She is also lucky to have the unconditional love and support of our extended family — her grandmother greeted her news by saying, “I’ve always wanted another granddaughter.” And we live in a place that is relatively accepting of trans people.
Not everybody is that lucky, and many parents now face legal consequences for doing what is best for their child. (Gender-affirming care is not new, and it is widely supported by major medical associations worldwide.)
As a parent, it is difficult to live with the knowledge that the world is more dangerous for your kids through no fault of their own. And let’s be clear: The fact that I have not always lived with this knowledge is an indication of immense privilege.
But that still doesn’t make it right. From bathroom bills to healthcare bans, there are now more than 440 anti-trans bills targeting trans people in the U.S. Transgender people are more than four times as likely to experience violent crime than cisgender people. The killings of trans people have more than doubled from 2017 to 2021, when at least 59 trans people were killed in homicides, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
And finally, let’s talk about progress. Dr. Rachel Levine became the country’s highest-ranking openly transgender official as the assistant secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. In October 2022, pop singers Kim Petras and Sam Smith’s song “Unholy” hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, making them the first out trans and nonbinary artists, respectively, to have a song claim the top spot. And “Pose” star Michaela Jaé Rodriguez made history in January as the first transgender winner of a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a drama series.
These are positive signs, but we still have work to do. Living your life with dignity is a basic human right. Let’s make it happen.