Hey there and welcome back! It’s Friday, November 20th and this is episode 230. Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and we have a quote for you from Sarah McBride who we are proud to say is the very first ever Transgender state senator in US history! So, congratulations to Miss McBride – we’re so proud of what you have accomplished and the ceiling that you have broken for Trangender people everywhere! And she says, “To anyone who worries that their truth and their dreams are mutually exclusive, know that change is possible. Know that your voice matters. Know that you can do this, too.”
I mean, those are some pretty powerful words and so apt I think for where we are. It’s a good reminder of some of those core truths about humans and about who we each of us are as individuals. Because no matter how we identify, or what we look like, we all have value, we all have worth, and ALL our voices matter. Today being Transgender Day of Remembrance is also known as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, and it’s observed annually on November 20th to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia – a very real thing – and it’s going to be I think a few decades before we really see this become more and more accepted and less and less a part of that fringe narrative and something that’s discriminated against. But this quote (whether you’re trans, or support trans, or anything in between) means so much to any of us because it really is a reminder of those truths. And you may have seen, a couple of weeks ago, that we did a post about this idea of mutually exclusive. And what mutually exclusive really means is that it is unable to exist in the presence of another thing and there are lots of things in our lives that we define as mutually exclusive that probably aren’t. And so, for so many people (especially those who have been oppressed throughout history) their truth and their dreams have been mutually exclusive legally in their minds. And, socially, as a deviant, they’ve been labeled the stigma that’s been around. But that’s getting lifted, and for all of us as human beings these concepts are not mutually exclusive – whatever your truth is and whatever your dream is – those things can exist and who better to show that than our very first transgender state senator.
I think that many people who fall within the transgender (or just are more binary as far as their gender) might find that their dream is really acceptance and belonging, as do many people who have something that makes them “different.” Whether it is being transgender, or maybe you are gay, or whatever it is, (maybe you’ve got a weird birthmark or something) that makes you different, oftentimes the dream is really about belonging or the fear of losing that sense of belonging, and you know I think we see this really encapsulated in the extremely high rates of suicide that happen particularly in transgender teens. A survey done through the American Academy for Pediatrics in 2018 revealed that nearly half of transgender or gender diverse teens reported attempting suicide over the only average of 14% for non-binary adolescents. And a big part of this has to do with just feeling different. Like, it’s really hard to be different, and oftentimes when we have the one thing that makes us different it makes us feel like we can’t have the other things that everyone else has, right? Everybody else would “normally” get.
You know, as we recently got to announce that I have accepted a position in teaching one, Sociology 101 class at the University of Nevada, Reno starting in the spring semester of 2021, I’m honored and excited to get to put my education to use that way. And this is definitely a topic that we study a lot in sociology and really looking at this idea of belonging, of stigma, of deviance, and all of these things change over time. Although they’re fluid in the macro sense, in the micro sense it feels painstakingly long for change to happen, which I think is why that’s part of this quote – in fact in part of the very first sentence, “know that change is possible,” because change happens really slowly for us on that societal level. But being in groups that get along and agree is core to our survival as a modern society if we’re going to be more than just a small tribe of people hunting and gathering. We have to kind of agree on what’s accepted and what’s going to be the future and how our institutions are going to look and that means defining what’s normal and what’s good and what’s right. And when we make those definitions too narrow we end up leaving a lot of people on the fringe and we see really devastating results like the statistics that Kay shared. But belonging to this herd is really an animalistic need that we have that enabled us the ability to plug into what’s larger than us. You know, because you’re part of a society and part of a group at large you don’t have to build your own roads, you didn’t have to invent the school buildings that you went to, you don’t even probably know how electricity works! But you flip a switch and the light comes on in your house all of these things are because we agree at a larger level that we are this society. And so, as we bring more awareness I think in consciousness to that we’re able to see the change that we’re talking about here and that Sarah mentions for us in this quote. We’re able to see that progress even if it is slow.
What I love about those overlying agreements that kind of dictate who’s going to fit in and what’s acceptable in society is that they’re fluid. And I get it. A lot of this stuff has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, but the fact that it is changing shows that it’s fluid. I mean, it might be ice that needs melting over time but it is fluid, because now we have our very first ever transgendered person in the senate. That’s a huge deal to now have someone who can go forward and now fight for the rights of others. If I am a transgender teen wondering if I belong and not getting those cues from my immediate community and I turn on the TV and see a leader fighting for my rights, it gives me the sense of belonging which can hopefully help us not mourn so many people here on the day of transgender remembrance. So, just a reminder of this quote from our very first ever transgender senator Miss Sarah McBride says, “To anyone who worries that their truth and their dreams are mutually exclusive, know that change is possible. Know that your voice matters. Know that you can do this, too.”
All right, that brings you to your #FriYAY quest, and we are so excited for this quest – it is a belonging quest!…How appropriate for this quote ;)…In honor of those who have been affected by transphobia, reach out and remind at least one other person that they belong with you, that their voice matters, that their dreams matter, and that they can do anything they set their mind to. Are you ready?
Shi and Kay: