Reflections

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!

Supreme Court hands victory to transgender students in locker room case

This is a huge deal and a momentous development for transgender youth! Call me an idealist, but perhaps, just perhaps, we can move away from the bathroom as the flashpoint in the transgender community’s fight to be heard and to be seen equally in our society…read article at LGBTQ Nation

Transgender Rights in the Workplace

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

Talking About Your Pronouns Is One Easy Way To Be A Transgender Ally

Always beginning a conversation with a trans person by identifying your pronouns first is a great way to demonstrate your allyship, of course, but it also tells that person you respect their journey. It also sends a very strong message about you as a person and your own personal sense of integrity. And why wouldn’t you want to do that in the first place?

Read full article on Forbes

We Are All Connected

I have been trying to process all the events of the last 10 days and I find myself struggling mightily with my emotions and the words to express them. I am so deeply troubled and saddened by the injustice that my black brothers and sisters have endured. Especially my black trans and LGBQ sisters and brothers. What hurts more is the realization that it is a pain that I will never experience personally.

So many times I have tried to help straight and LGB cisgender people understand what it is like to be born into a body that belies one’s true sense of who they really are and then to live decades of one’s life in complete denial of that fact. Now, I feel like the script has been flipped. I am struggling with the reality that I will never know what it is like to be profiled by police and pulled over for driving a car while black.  Try as I might, I can never walk in your shoes. And as such, I am feeling an immense sense of remorse because I have not lived your history, your reality.

I get it, I’m a white transwoman of privilege. I have endured battles with my own inner demons and overcome my own obstacles so I can live my own authentic life. But I do not want privilege to ever be the reason that I lose my connection to my black trans and LGBQ sisters and brothers. We are all a part of the same human family. We are all connected. When someone hurts you, they hurt me too.

Perhaps Archbishop Desmond Tutu said it best when describing the African philosophy of Ubuntu, “A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished when others are tortured or oppressed.”

Please know I love you all, I stand with you and I raise up my voice in unwavering solidarity with you. The future we seek will be created by the choices we make and the actions we take today and in the weeks and months ahead – together.