This past weekend I had the occasion to meet three transgender people, one man and two women. I want to support, love and accept trans people in the same way I support, love and accept gay, lesbian and bisexual people, yet I don’t know a lot about them and the issues they face.
What struck me was how different things are today than they were 25 years ago when I first met Sam (name changed to protect anonymity). He was living as a man, married with two children. We were casual acquaintances and I saw him about once a month for a year or two. Then he seemed to disappear. When I asked what happened to him, I was told he was transgender and had begun to transition. His wife had kicked him out of the house and
refused him any contact with his children. As I learned this past weekend, the use of pronouns can become confusing when one first comes out as transgender. Sam became Hilary and moved back east. I saw her once after that and was struck by the sadness in her eyes. I learned from mutual friends that she suffered from depression and had attempted suicide, not because she was transgender but because she had lost her children and her family.
The people I met this past weekend live in a different time, although I think there is still much misunderstanding about what it means to be transgender. There is still a lot of harassment and bullying and I suspect the transgender community is a bit behind the gay community in obtaining equal rights.
I hope to learn more in the coming months and become as avid an advocate for their community as I am for the gay community.
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