June 1, 2013
We educate that transgender people are a people who are brave enough to identify for themselves how they feel most comfortable identifying, regardless of sex assignment at birth. But do we, as a society, respect and accept this? No, as we are not trained to do so! As easy as it is to train a child to be Christian, or racist, so can a person be trained from a young age to be phobic and in total opposition to the lifestyles of the LGBTQ. As transgender people choose their lives, an immense portion of the nation's population shows blatant lack of acknowledgement, or negative acknowledgement, of the issue. This is more than a problem for me.
As a trans youth (who began transition before 'his' 24th birthday), I have climbed the fence of the LGBTQ community from being identified as lesbian to becoming a full man. And I see now the differences. Being gay and/or lesbian is hard enough! Especially as a Southerner. But being trans brings about a whole new set of fears and needs.
For one ... a trans-person may or may not require acceptance or tolerance, but does require, at least, acknowledgment. I still have folk in my personal life who find it difficult to acknowledge the 'man' that stands before them, and use pronouns in public and private that conflict with what any person in public may see. I try to convince them of the safety hazards they present to me by doing so ... but they will choose their own way regardless. I also have some friends who slip up from time to time. Yet, out of habit, I may or may not respond. But if/when I do, others will take regard and it's a scary thought for me. Who knows when the time comes that I would be followed one evening coming home after work because someone figured me out, doesn't agree, and decides it's THEIR responsibility to "rectify"?
I am a man. I've always seen myself as such. Even since elementary school age. But to those who have spent the first 20 years of my life knowing and acknowledging otherwise ... I understand. However, as someone finally on this side of the LGBTQ spectrum, I have a harder view than expected.
Why are trans-folk not equal in political matters? Where do we fall in health care? How do we qualify ourselves for such care? Where is there space for us in Pride events every year (since the people in drag get more acceptance)? How is it so hard to get people in the LGBTQ community to not feel like we are betraying our physical biology? Much less to get hetero people to feel this way?
So many questions. So few people willing to provide an honest thought to the forgotten. We may be a minority as far as people who can be recognized, much less who self-proclaim ... but maybe it's because we're too busy being murdered in the worst of ways for it. I just don't want to be taboo anymore.
I demand COMPLETE INCLUSION! How can you say LGBTQ without focus on the 'T'?
David Isaiah Joseph is a nationally known health motivator, advocate, activist, public speaker, and youth representative. His aim is to speak life through the adversity of HIV/AIDS by sharing his powerful testimony. As an activist and advocate, David fights for the homeless, the poor and low-income, the HIV/AIDS affected, and the young. As a health motivator, Mr. Joseph teaches HIV/AIDS prevention and all sexual and reproductive rights to all ages.