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Happy Transgiving

My first thought was that maybe an annual event, a Transgiving … where transgender people who can’t joyfully celebrate with their family or friends can celebrate together. But then I realized … this idea would end up being just one more way of helping only the trans-folk in larger communities while leaving those who live in the boonies out in the cold.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you – one and all. And if you have a warm, loving family who respect you to celebrate with (as I do) that is something to be thankful for. And if you have a circle of loving and caring friends to celebrate with – that’s something to be thankful for as well. Be thankful – because there’s lots of people who don’t have either of these blessings. Among those people who are deprived of this blessing are a large portion of the transgender population.

Yes, I am transgender too – and I suppose that just being born trans is in itself a bad stroke of luck — but I’ve had other strokes of luck that are wonderful — among them being born into a loving, caring family that embraces me for who I am inside. A lot of trans-folk are not so lucky – and for them, the holiday times (first Thanksgiving, then later Christmas, Chanukah, or whatever else they celebrate) can be a time of much anguish. Either they are altogether unwelcome to celebrate with their families or the invitation to celebrate is in essence an invitation to come and be mercilessly misgendered and/or otherwise disrespected. This year, just as every year since I began my transition, I heard of way too many cases of this happening. (Of course, even one case would be one too many — but I heard significantly more than that.)

You would think – okay, don’t celebrate with your family. Celebrate with your friends as well. Problem is, in many such situations, friends who are any better than that are also hard to come by. Of course, you can argue that true friends are by definition better than this – but often it’s only by the broader definition of the term "friends", the definition that does not preclude such nastiness, that these individuals are able to find any friends at all.

And I thought, “can’t anything be done about this”? Now, I could get on my soapbox here and rant about how rejecting and/or mistreating a family member who happened to be born not fitting into the mold you hoped for is not a family value – or how you’re really not much of a friend at all if you turn your back on someone because they were born not fitting the mold — but no, neither of these things are what this blog-post is about. We can push for a future where people are not mean to their own flesh and blood and where friends are true – but in the mean time, people will be mean.

This blog-post isn’t about calling mean people out on their meanness. No, it’s about what can be done to help those who are victim to such meanness. My first thought was that maybe an annual event, a Transgiving if you will, could be organized – where transgender people who can’t joyfully celebrate with their family or friends can celebrate together. But then I realized the flaw in this plan – it would probably only be easy to implement in larger cities with vibrant trans communities – cities where (for all I know) they may already have such an annual event. But the places where folks probably feel the biggest sting from such treatment are the places where they have nowhere to go to – smaller communities in more backward parts of the country. In short, this idea would end up being just one more way of helping only the trans-folk in larger communities while leaving those who live in the boonies out in the cold — like that isn’t already done way too much already.

Ultimately, an answer will not be easy in the making – but as we enter the holiday season at the ending of 2014, let us ask ourselves what can be done to bring some holiday cheer to those trans-folk who are stuck with no loving family or friends in not-too-metropolitan parts of the country.

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