a few weeks back the florida panhandle held its first ever ‘transgender day of rembrance’. a woman named Katherine, whom i had met at a potluck for the transgender support group in pensacola, was the person who set up the event. of course my daughter and i attended. ziona because she is transgender, and me because i support the cause and have even before the circumstance of finding myself raising her.
at one point, katherine pointed out that ziona at 10 years old, is the youngest transgender person in the area. she suggested, as have others who know us, that ziona’s story should be told.
in part i ‘get’ why that is important. ziona is not ‘stealth’ and altho her primary identification is simply ‘a girl’, she is also proud to be a person who is transgender. it is important that the dominant culture be educated, that society might learn to accept all of its various members. it was the courageous actions of a transgender girl named jazz and her family in letting her story be told on national television that first led me to understand what ziona was going through, and what should be my response as her parent.
but i look forward to a day when stories like the one Jazz shared so publically are no longer controversial.
i look forward to a day when a persons gender identity is of no more importance than their preference of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches over baloney, when their circumstance is no more ‘newsworthy’ than a child’s getting braces to straighten their teeth.
obviously what our transgender children face today is of far greater consequence than such things. but this is largely because of the stigma involved with regard to gender issues. in a society free of prejudice, in a truly ‘free’ society one’s gender identity would no longer be an issue. no stories would need to be told. no more than the stories of any other child growing up to be who they are.
this thinking, this wishful thinking, may seem simplistic or naive. it may seem as tho i, a cis-gender person with full rights and privilege in the dominant culture, am trivializing or marginalizing the experience and reality of transgender persons. but in fact, i am merely fantasizing about a day wherein our children, our lovers, our friends, are no longer controversial. when their existence doesn’t enrage some to the point of assault or murder. i only dream and imagine the day when the rule of gender binary systems and the prejudice against sexual preference, as well as all other measures by which society now oppresses people who don’t ‘fit’ neatly into the boxes on its shelf, fall uselessly away like the outmoded, anachronistic mindsets they are.
yes, my daughter’s story at this point in time is considered ‘newsworthy’. it is controversial. my support of her is also something that our present society judges without bothering to investigate. and someday she may decide to tell her story in a public venue for the edification of others. should she so choose, i will be right at her side, supporting and looking out for her like any parent does for their child.
but someday…someday….it may be that such circumstances as ours will no longer be controversial. i look forward to that day! because when that day does arrive, there will also be fewer ‘days of remembrance’ to keep.