Despite our victory in the Supreme Court last year in the Title VII cases (Rest in peace, Aimee Stephens), the only clear path to true workplace equality for transgender and gender non-conforming people is the passage of the Equality Act. The long and far-too-winding road that was the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) needs to come to an end. Our President-elect has pledged to make this a top priority at the outset of his administration, and we need to hold him to that. To be sure, there is much that needs to be addressed in our nation, but that said, this cannot – and will not – be left behind. Read more
A Reason for Hope
In any other year, in any other decade, in any other century you might not necessarily need to have a reason for hope. In the “before times,” pre-COVID that is, hope flowed freely throughout the world. It swirled and danced around the globe unfettered, just waiting for someone, somewhere to latch on to it. The touch points are as varied as there are humans on this earth: hope for a new job, hope for an uneventful pregnancy, hope for admission to college, hope for a loved one who is waiting on positive test results from their doctor. You can insert your own here. I know I certainly can.
But then 2020 arrived and as the year unfurled it became very apparent that this year would be like no other we have ever experienced. Too many lives lost, too many dreams shattered. Far too much suffering inflicted upon our world. Our collective psyche has taken quite a beating. Tears come so very easily to me now. The truth is, I’ve cried at enough corny television commercials to know that I wear my emotions on my sleeve, but nothing like what this year has wrought. My emotions are closer to the surface than they have ever been in my life.
I have lost a brother, a mother-in-law, a brother-in-law, and a very dear friend this year. None of their deaths had anything to do with the pandemic, but the pandemic played a role in each of them, crushing my grieving process. I could not travel to whatever highly restricted and stripped-down funeral services took place, leaving me to process the loss of these lights in my life alone in my own space and time. Their passing has caused me to look at my life and my own mortality in a vastly different light. Collectively, they have shaken my foundation of hope and left me muttering to myself “why.”
Perhaps you have seen Google’s “Year in Search” video. It turns out the number one search word for all of 2020 was “Why.” Not very surprising with the year we’ve had to endure. So much struggle, anguish, hate – are you listening J.K. Rowling and Tucker Carlson? – and needless loss of life. A country divided. Far too many of my trans and black brothers and sisters killed – again and again. We all know their names – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless others. So many radiant points of light extinguished, and life stories left untold. Yes, Black Lives DO Matter and so DO Black Trans Lives.
When the “Why” casts such a shadow over us and looms so incredibly large over our world, how can the light of hope possibly break through? What do we do when “Why” has disassembled our world and repeatedly beaten us down to the point where we have nothing left to give emotionally?
Perhaps where we need to start is by turning “Why” inside out. Transforming the riddle that has been 2020 into a message of Hope for 2021.
Why . . . can’t we . . .?
Why . . . shouldn’t we . . .?
Why . . . of course we can!
It begins by creating space for hope in our lives. It’s already there, waiting to be embraced, even in the direst of circumstances. We just need to have enough faith to believe that its presence exists among us. Because it does. I think it has something to do with gratitude and embracing those things – whatever they may be – that bring you joy.
Hope is divine. Hope is healing. Hope gives each of us the energy to face another day and then another one after that. Hope keeps despair from creeping into our consciousness.
And for many of us, that’s as good a place as any to begin. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. Hope creates the path forward where none had existed before. And most importantly, hope can help us turn the page on a year we just as soon forget.
Wishing each of you a Safe, Healthy and Happy New Year!
I absolutely love this story, which to be quite candid, connects so well with what PFLAG National/Straight for Equality was founded on – a parent’s love for their LGBTQ+ child. Sometimes the hardest thing a parent can do is let their child lead…read more
Attention California-based companies of all sizes! Wonderful and useful information for trans people in California, from my friends at SoCal ACLU and the State of California Department of Fair Employment & Housing