As the calendar flips from December to January and another new year begins, I find myself – like I am sure many of you are – in a very reflective place. Personally speaking, 2022 was quite a year of travel for my wife Mari and I. We traveled to places we had always hoped to visit – but were postponed from going to due to the pandemic. Spain, Greece, Italy, and Croatia each had their own unique sense of place and moments of awe-inspiring magic.
As we explored each place, we never shied away from being visible and being our authentic selves. As two transwomen we have a firm grasp of who we are and as we interacted with locals and travelers of all types we always know, that in one way or another, outreach comes along for the ride. We do not shy away from it, but rather embrace it wholeheartedly. I have long believed that you get back only what you put out into the world, and when you lead with authenticity and positivity that is what the universe gives back to you in return. And that is precisely what happened throughout our time in Europe and on our transatlantic cruise ship crossing back home. It helped to create a sense of community with our fellow cruisers – many of whom happened to be Bears! My hope is that by spending some time with us they felt the same sense of connectedness in our shared humanity that we did.
It was also a year where I was able to help several firms further their inclusion initiatives through my training programs and consulting work and by being given the opportunity to tell the story of my journey to my authentic self to their employees. It demonstrated for me, once again, that our stories possess incredible power to change hearts, minds, and souls.
And speaking of changing hearts and minds, I am ever grateful that my book has continued to reach more individuals than I could ever imagine. It warms my heart to know that many have benefited from its tales of strength, perseverance, and hope. It was never my intent to publish a New York Times bestseller (although that would have been nice!). But rather, it was always about being able to help those that were searching for guidance and support for their own life journeys in whatever measure they needed.
The vagaries of the publishing business being what they are, I find myself at the start of this year in search of a new publisher so that I can ensure my book remains in print and continues to help those that can benefit from it most: transgender and gender diverse individuals of all stripes as well as those managers of people, DEI professionals, and the like. I believe it can continue to touch the lives of many if given the proper platform. In addition, I have much more to share about what I have learned with respect to the roles privilege and vulnerability play in the evolution of cultures in organizations of all sizes and I seek a forum on which to do that.
So, I humbly ask that if any of you reading this can assist me in that endeavor by introducing me to individuals in your network who are in the publishing industry I would be beyond grateful.
Finally, along with reflection comes discernment, and I have discerned plenty in 2022. I have purposely and intentionally devoted a good deal of time to understanding how my voice can continue to contribute to the future of the transgender/gender-diverse inclusion movement. The new year marks my 19th year of doing what I do, and I have arrived at a place where whatever work I take on it is because I want to, rather than because I need to. And that is no small realization for me as I have often struggled with what comes next – and what does that look like.
To be sure, there are plenty of younger voices in today’s movement who bring a much different point of view to the table. I have seriously considered the possibility that perhaps it is time for me to step aside and let them carry us into the future. But if I am honest with myself, I am not quite ready to do that. There is far too much hate, falsehoods, and misinformation being heaped upon my community, and God only knows what waits for us in the new year given the dynamic political landscape in this country. The only way we combat that and shape the narrative to an honest and true place is by using a multitude of voices collectively speaking truth to power. And that is a collective that I have always been proud to lend my voice to, in whatever manner feels right for me.
Be kind to each other and I wish each of you a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful 2023.