The New York Times is running an extensive series about transgender Americans on its website op-ed pages, which includes an impressive Transgender Story Wall. It is touching, fascinating and inspiring to read the stories of my trans brothers and sisters, and to realize in sight and sound the vast diversity of our community. For me personally, reading and watching this Story Wall has been one of the most moving experiences of my life. I think many transgender folks feel blown away, when they realize that they are not alone, that they need not be outcasts. You can read my own submitted words and see my video here.
“This is me,” I told my disbelieving mother when I showed her proudly my drawing, above. For the following 30 years of my life, I struggled to cope with my gender dysphoria. Fortunately the growing resources of literature both published and on the fledgling internet found their way to me in the early 1990s. And today I meet young transgender people whose transitions have been seamless and fully supported (as they should be). As we become more visible, we fear less the judgmental hostility that once was accepted as a normal response to gender fluidity and change.
There is still a long road ahead to travel, for transgender people around the world, in terms of inclusion, respect, equality and full civil rights. But I am astonished to find that, within my own lifetime, I could come to the point of saying — as I do at the end of my New York Times video — that I am grateful to be transgender.