COLUMN: Celebrating Trans Day of Visibility, even though I do not want to

Rob Le Cates

Luke Taylor is a senior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2912 or [email protected].

Luke Taylor, Senior Reporter

Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31st. I do not feel like celebrating this year.

When people talk about being transgender, a lot of the conversation focuses on the negatives: body issues, undergoing surgery or not being accepted.

While I do relate to those experiences, being trans is also a huge source of joy for me.

I have found many of my closest friends through LGBTQ+ organizations and I love talking about how our identities change how we see the world. The experience of coming out and taking intentional steps to present myself how I want to be seen has been incredible.

Every year on this day I make the same joke: “You guys can all see me today! I’ll be visible!”

Being transgender has affected my life in a myriad of ways, but I never thought that I would be cutting entire states out of my job searches because I literally do not know if I will be able to live there.

I never understood getting “burnt out” on reading or watching the news because as a journalist, staying updated is my goal and I always want to know what is happening. That has changed in recent months.

I do not even know the extent of the laws about transgender people that have been passed or are being debated in the legislature of many states right now, because I cannot even read the news without feeling ill.

You cannot really avoid it, though. Every time I scroll through TikTok or Twitter or any other platform, I see constant reminders about what the transgender community is going through right now.

Some of it is great, like how two trans women on TikTok just raised over a million dollars to help trans people get gender-affirming care.

Most of it is not. I see politicians railing against each other, claiming that trans people are trying to indoctrinate children, that gender should not even be talked about in school or that drag queens are “groomers.”

I try not to be entitled even though that is what my generation is accused of… but I do think I deserve better than this.

I should not have to change my career plans or worry that my politicized identity will have me accused of biased reporting. I should not have to hide my identity, either.

I should not have to go to protests or call my representatives or write this column, either.

Like every other transgender person, I have a life ahead of me with goals and a career and hobbies. I spend more time hanging out with the people I care about or dealing with schoolwork than I do thinking about my gender.

And yet, in many areas of this country in which I am meant to be free to do whatever I want, elected officials are reducing people like me to one aspect of ourselves and deciding that we are wrong in some way.

These decisions are deadly.

I will try to say this delicately: if I had no hope of being able to transition or present as the gender I identify as, I do not know that I would want to continue living.

This is the case for most people who identify as transgender.

We will always be here. People realize they are transgender every day. We will not be wiped out and we are not hiding any more, but people will die if they are not able to live authentically.

I will not waste my time defending my beliefs about gender or my right to transition. No one with the power to fix anything will read this.

I do have a request for you, whoever is reading this: check in on the transgender people in your life.

We are exhausted, we are stressed, and we are angry. We are being forced to act like everything is normal and continue our lives or spend all our time fighting.

If you think there are no trans people in your life, you are wrong; we are everywhere, even if not everyone is as open about their identities as I am. This is a good time to be loud about your support- you have no idea how much that can mean to people around you.

This Trans Day of Visibility, I do not feel like celebrating, but I will try anyway. Being transgender is something worthy of celebration.

Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].