|Image from Elyssa Fahndrich|
Recently I read a post from my statewide organization "Trans Ohio" which made the point Transgender Day of Visibility's name should be changed to Day of Liberation. I thought what a great idea. Even though due to weather and mobility issues I did not attend the annual local TDOV event this past Saturday, I was there last year and several trans people are still stuck in my mind who were more liberated than just visible.
Primarily, the one I remember the most was a young transgender girl. Probably around the age of fourteen who was there with her Mom. Seemingly she could not quite contain how proud she was to be in a safe space with many like minded individuals. I thought at the time how wonderful it must have been for her and her Mom to see all the supportive LGBTQA organizations who had set up there for the day. In the young girl's case, she was more liberated than just visible. The great thing was, she wasn't alone. There were many more in different age brackets attending too.
The entire TDOV process took me back to the actual day when I decided to put away my male life for good and assume a feminine lifestyle. This included a personal pledge to myself to begin hormone replacement therapy to help me as much as possible femininize my exterior appearance to match my internal feelings. When I did it, I could not believe the amount of weight and stress which was lifted from my shoulders. In other words I was liberated and was coming home to an exciting and new transgender life. Not so different than the young trans girl I talked to at TDOV. From that point forward so many years ago, I started to wonder why I waited so long to do it.
The main reason was my increasingly complex and pressurized male life kept getting into the way. Successes in my job, having a child and loving my wife all provided road blocks to me jumping off the gender transition cliff and liberating myself after living years in a dark closet. To make matters worse, once I thought I had liberated myself from my gender closet, I discovered I had only became visible in the world and the entire liberation process had a ways to go. Those were the terrifying yet exciting days of learning how to react to and communicate with the rest of the world. As this brand new person within me I thought I knew so well but didn't until I was able to liberate her. I guess you could say I was visible first and liberated second.
During the current wave of anti-LGBTQA and primarily transgender legislation from often crooked politicians it would be difficult to consider changing any of the regular annual trans events such as TDOV to Transgender Day of Liberation but it certainly does deserve a second thought.