It took me years to finally sort out what exactly was going on inside my head. In that time, a single, solitary trans person emerged and stepped into the public spotlight - Chaz Bono. However, I still couldn't really count Mr. Bono as a role model, though, because his transgender journey took him in an opposite direction from me; from female to male instead of male to female. I couldn't look to him and think, "He knows what it's like to feel like a woman deep down inside." Ironically, nothing could be further from the truth - Chaz made his transition because he had no idea what the felt like.
Eventually, with some digging, I was able to find other transgender women like myself, and some of them were even moderately well-known. None of them, however, were standing up fighting for transgender rights (Except Calpernia Addams - she's amazing, just not terribly well known). None of them were standing up saying, "I'm trans, and proud." This, really, is the key reason I started this blog, so that I could do something so few others were - standing up and talking about their transition, and their lives, and letting the mainstream, cisgender community know that we're not weirdos and freaks, we're just men and women that got a bad toss of the genetic dice.
Recently, though, there have been more people coming out as trans in the public spotlight, and, frankly, this couldn't make me happier! First, Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gable, of the band Against Me!) comes out in a May 8th exclusive article with Rolling Stone magazine. Laura has been amazingly public about her transition, having done several more interviews on the topic since her public debut in early May.
I learned of Laura's coming out on Tumblr, and watched as the trans community rushed in to welcome her with open arms - Apparently I was not the only one who was glad to see someone so public willing to stand up and say, "Yeah, I'm trans, and now that I'm out, it's great!"
From her MTV.com interview :
"I've been completely blown away; the most amazing part for me is the amount of trans men and women who have been coming out to the shows and meeting them after and talking with them. I'll have a lot of them come up to me and be like 'It's amazing, what you're doing, and I look up to you so much,' " she said. "And it blows me away, because I look at them, and they're so much further along in their transition, and it's like 'What you're doing for me, by being here right now, is beyond whatever you think I'm doing for you.' Just being able to make that connection ... because I had no friends in that world. And to make those connections, that is half of what I wanted to accomplish by coming out, to be part of that community."
|Bunny Bennett has her character, Rabbit|
She says, in her blog :
I can never be a happy man. He never will be…because he doesn’t exist. There’s already a person in my head who is happy and needs out. Needs to shout. And when she does…it makes me happy. It makes me feel damn good.I remember reading Bunny's blog, and thinking to myself, "my goodness... this all sounds like things that I said - verbatim - three years ago. Good for you, Bunny! Good for you!" Again, seeing her words on page, and seeing how she proudly stood up and proclaimed who she was, regardless of what the public opinion of her might be, filled me with pride. I'm now well into my life as a woman, but I can only imagine how many pre-transition, questioning, confused, and frightened young transwomen are out there looking to ladies like her and Laura, thinking, "That's me, that's how I feel inside. I'm not a freak! I'm not alone!" I wonder, in simply coming out publicly, how many lives they've saved because it gave a young transwoman the hope for a future enough to carry on rather than checking out.
We'll never know, but this is how my brain works.
So here's to you, Ladies in the Limelight! Thank you for being brave enough to stand your ground, and not give up your spot in the public eye just because you came out as trans. Thank you for your strength, courage, and conviction. You're doing much more good than you may understand, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude.
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Oh, hey everyone! I forgot to mention - I now write a regular Saturday guest-blog feature at the Transgender Education Collaboration, called Saturdays with Sara. Hop over and check'm out! There's a lot of great stuff on their site!