A Transgender Woman’s Letter For The American Public
By Shadow Moon
What a surreal time to be alive in all the history of the world and be who I am. Every post in the feeds across my social networks seems to be plagued with sadness in having witnessed the setback in human rights since the outcome of the election was announced. Besides being the person I am, my life is also quite different from those in the mainstream ever since I began my journey through American Intentional Communities roughly two years ago.
Voting has always seemed like a waste of resources from my perspective. My goal in these recent years has been to build a life in which I refused to contribute to the cruelty and violence filling the world. After over a decade of being abused and trapped in a small town within the bible-belt, I was also looking for a place I could be myself.
Participating in an election seemed like a complex equation at a Freakonomics level of insanity, when I’ve thought about the amount of fossil fuel for the citizens of the nation to even make it to the polls and the money in play with everything, forever contributing to the amount of international slaves and sweat shops around the globe trying to hold up the American Dream like the mythical Atlas. I feel I grew distant in this. Maybe blind. Always looking at my Facebook feed of old friends and Internet acquaintances made throughout the course of my life as a collage of contradictions and hypocrisy to learn from.
The internet seemed like a place filled with armchair analysts with clickable links to “see more” in the never-ending scroll to the bottom of human thought. Each one seemingly coming from a place of division with only finger-pointing to perceived problems, without any focus on permanent solutions. Elections, at their best, seemed to be fueled by moral grey areas hardly every offering anything to make significant progress with so many projecting a savior-image onto their candidate to avoid seeing how the actions of their lives have an effect on the world. As I watched the results of the election stream from a CNN broadcast, I realized I had made a fatal mistake and this election wasn’t like any other I’ve witnessed in my life thus far.
Finally leaving the strange comfort of holding the idea of suicide next to every thought in recent days, I realized I finally had something to lose. It wasn’t like any other election in how blatantly this possible outcome would fly in the face of every action put forth to establish equality in America. The same week I finally found the courage to admit both to myself and everyone else I’m transgender, would be the same week I face a reality in which my rights to be who I am will quite possibly be taken away.
It was hard not to imagine those images of people smiling and crying tears of joy at the victory rally in front of me were not relishing in my demise. My finally expressed identity stomped on by the happiness of people who would elect a man who stands against every fiber of my being. It was hard for me not to draw a line in the sand in this moment. To take on the duality in an us vs. them logic in seeing all that red mapped out across the country like a welcome mat for all the hate crimes to come. Their very outline seemingly stabbing at my deepest and fresh emotions in an utter dismissal of my existence without a chance beforehand to process letting go of the person the world in my vicinity forced me to be.
It took all I had not to have a nervous breakdown, even with all the support I’ve begun to receive within the cozy bubble of mine surrounded by artistic personalities and those of a counter-culture. Being marginalized to such an extent was emotionally devastating in a way I’ve never faced before. Hardly sleeping and reading updates as they came in, I was comforted only by the prevailing logic.
Only a quarter of the people in this country voted for this presidency. Nearly half the population of this country didn’t cast a vote for either side. It was later even revealed Clinton won the popular vote, which shows in a way how history came close to going in the other direction. The numbers console me in knowing it is not even close to being a nation’s voice speaking out against people like me. I also rise above my fears when seeing statements like those of the ACLU affirming a stance against a President who will ignore human rights. It is very possible in light of this, many of the policies I have to fear may be stopped in every instance until the next election takes place.
I see people uniting now more than ever. I see Human Rights Activists getting louder and louder. Even people whom I’ve never seen take a stand for anything are refusing this level of injustice. Even living in a nation with a regime set to dehumanize me, I feel inspired to make my transition entirely transparent. I don’t think there has been a collective rallying cry of this magnitude since the Civil Rights Movement and it carries with it a hundred more types of dreams for peace, gathered in one unifying scream of protest against the darker world we may face tomorrow.
A scream however, even on the side of the angels, will produce violence. In these times of such uncertainty we must think of the women, men, and everyone existing between the binary idea of gender who have taken a stand or lost their lives in an attempt to make peace. We must remember those before us whose words were used like flowers threaded back though the links in the chains set in place by those wishing to enslave people with hatred. We must remember in moving forward everyone in this nation is a human being and every abuser first faced abuse. We must empathize with hate as a tragic expression being composed by ignorance and never being born into a position to cultivate a love refusing to make divisions.
Every time we separate ourselves from them, we hurt ourselves, and the world. We must listen calmly even in such times of emotional distress. We must help to make sure the world is seeing our pain. I has to be seen, especially by those who refuse. I will not demean or block other human beings from being in my life. I offer everyone this opening of my heart, because those I’m perceiving as hating blindly are the ones who need to see the pain they cause in their actions.
If I could offer one thing to those going through what I am – even as I watch transgender suicide hotlines begin to surge from the volume of tears being shed today – and how if this would have happened even mere months ago maybe I’d be among their ranks, it would be this: We as human beings do not ever have to submit or dominate. In this darkness there is no reason to give up, because you might very well be one of our only lights. Do not twist it into a torch of hate. Do not let anyone cause your heart to shrink. Science stands behind everyone in the LGBT community. Love is behind us. Now is the time to stand and be seen, but knowing every history book traces around the fact that lasting progress has never been made with a clenched fist in solidarity to lead to a retaliation, but rather an open one extended to all. I have to make myself vulnerable to help those seeing me through a filter of prejudice see the person underneath.
If you need more light in these times, please borrow some of mine. If you need to hate someone, let my heart absorb your every strike as an example to the world. I am here. I am not going anywhere. I am a woman and my love will not go unheard. This nation will trump hate once more, if we remember to use the heart at our core.
Shadow Moon is a twenty-five year old transgender woman. She lives in an intentional community and is trying to make a difference in the world. She was once known as the voice behind the journalist entity, NOBODY IMPORTANT. She now writes as herself and does so proudly. Follow or add her on Facebook.