Years ago I sat across the table from a friend, holding her hands so she would stop dragging a razor she had clenched in her fist across her skin. She was bleeding from a dozen small cuts already. We were in the dark corner of a bar, and I felt so helpless.
It was the first time I understood the incredible pain of gender identity. I’m happy to report that, for the most part, my friend is now comfortable with his gender identity. He’s taught me an amazing amount about the intricacies of what most of us refer to as “transgender” life. And as a cisgendered heterosexual, those were lessons I needed to learn.
Today is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. Being a visible trans person is incredibly risky — trans women have a one in twelve chance of being murdered, and that chance increases to one in eight if the trans woman is of color. It’s no wonder that trans people stay hidden.
This holiday was created as a way to celebrate trans people around the world. I’m still learning what it means to be a supporter of the trans people in my life and in the world; I suspect I always will. I have no idea what it feels like to be unable to identify with the gender I was born to. But I hope that my inadequate support is a start, at least.
Because Babble is a parenting site, I found myself thinking of those folks that are supportively parenting trans children. I found this awesome video from some folks at PFLAG; it’s the “It Gets Better” video for parents of kids in gender identity crisis. If that’s you, I hope this helps (and you can find more from these families here).