By David T. Valentin
According to the Human Rights Campaign, they are tracking 340 anti-trans bills in The United States, and that statistic was recorded at the beginning of February of 2023 not even taken into account the whole month of February and March.
To say that knowing this is the reality of our country saddens me would be an understatement. I am sickened. I am furious. I am heartbroken. I am heart broken because I’ve watched my fellow neighbors, friends, family members, fall to fear tactics by a group of people who would rather eradicate an entire minority group of people simply because they don’t understand. Because they don’t want to understand. Because they are so scared of reckoning with an alternative way of life that might set them free from the limitations of society—and that they’d be faced with the truth they chose the easy way of life by living by what was expected of them and that they couldn’t live their lives to the fullest because they were so afraid to stray from the path expected of them and go bravely carve a new, bold and brave path for themselves.
But these moments have filled me with hope. These moments fill me with hope because, when some of my closet loved ones were tested against the adversary of fear and hate and discomfort, they chose to stand strong and fight for what makes them happy. They chose to stick it out because they knew at the end of that dark, dark tunnel there would be a truer version of themselves. They chose to fight for what makes them free. And they chose love and understanding and patience above any threat that might come their way. That has always been the history of the LGBTQ+ community, and that will continue to be the history of our community because we are fighters. And we are brave.
Some of the people I’ve learned the most from are trans or gender nonconforming people. And while in recent years I’ve come to accept my sexuality, I have not been so kind to my expression of my gender. But in these past months, I have explored what makes me happy despite the little voice in my head trying to frighten me of what others might think of me. Frighten me back into the closet.
After months of exploring who I am, what my gender means for me, I can proudly say that I have never been happier stepping out of the confines of that binary to explore my gender fluidity—a feeling I’ve known to always be there, no matter how oblivious I was to it at the time. And I dare anyone who knows me who are against trans people and trans rights, to tell me I’m happier expressing myself the way society expects me to express myself, especially after you’ve seen the joy and happiness and wonder I’ve experienced while exploring my gender expression these past six months. And if you did tell me I’m better off being the old me from a year ago, I’d call you a liar and an enemy to my and my communities joy.
So, transphobes—you can attack our children. You can attack our sacred spaces. You can go after the symbols of our queer worship. But you’ll never take away the fact that we, the LGBTQ+ community, are fighters. We have fought this fight before, and although it’s a long journey, we have always found a way to keep on living our lives no matter what it may take.