If “Tomorrow Will Be Different” provides a vision for a future of trans equality, I hope it will be one in which the dignity of transgender individuals is not up to cisgender arbiters for approval.
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I always viewed Japanese and Philippine cultures as existing in entirely separate spheres, until I was well on my way to Kyoto: I looked out the window, and saw the same familiar rice paddies I grew up with back home.
We should not be afraid to throw a brick if a brick needs to be thrown. There are times when a single instance of violence is a justifiable response to pervasive and encompassing oppression by the state.
After being nominated last year, it was fantastic to learn that the feature I wrote for Mic along with a team of reporters, Unerased: Counting Transgender Lives, won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism, Multimedia. This award is particularly important to me because of how often trans people are subjects of news but so rarely get to tell our own stories, especially in print journalism where we're so underrepresented. It's a particular honor to receive this award for work that I hope amplifies the voices and lives of my trans siblings, especially trans women and femmes of color who continue to face enormous violence and discrimination.
I anticipate that transgender Americans may not simply face legal obstacles, but also the possibility that the people charged with providing federal services may openly despise them, and feel no compunction in expressing their hostility given the president’s own antipathy towards minorities.
At a time when many queers have signaled their desire for mainstream acceptability, it has been trans people who have carried forth the mantle of radical queerness, both personally and politically.
Those who sacrificed their lives to be who they are — the vast majority trans women of color and gender-nonconforming femmes — were not passive victims to be remembered and mourned. They were fighters and rebels who challenged the norms of our society, their communities and often their families.
In the days after the Pulse massacre, performers in Orlando’s LGBT club scene were recovering from trauma and mourning their friends. But because people have flocked to Orlando’s other gay bars, and because the rent needs to get paid, LGBT nightlife staffers have had to work through their pain in public — not to mention the emotional labor involved in being the face of a national tragedy. Here’s how they’re coping: in stolen, private moments among the queer families that love them.
To protest anti-trans bathroom bills, some attractive, cis-passing trans people have taken selfies to show the absurdity of having to use a restroom that doesn’t match their gender identity. But do cis allies who share these images express allegiance to established gender roles as a condition of their support?
You may not realize it, but the person on the other side of your customer service phone call might be transgender. On calls, Filipino workers can safely adopt women’s voices, names, and clothing, all while earning a decent wage. But their success at work doesn’t protect them from the discrimination they face outside of it.
Many immigrants have written about how we always keep a part of ourselves even when we’re somewhere else, but as a trans woman, it’s hard to talk openly about an experience I often have, of being reminded of my former life as a boy and young man.