So, it’s trans day of visibility. Obviously, there are a number of dates year-round that celebrate the queer community in some capacity; so many that some wonder why. I’d like to share a story to help people understand.
I was 16 years old, and only recently struggling with my identity. For the first time in a while, I was excited to “know” who I was, and ready to share it with someone. At my counselor’s office after school, I excitedly share the news:
“I figured it out! I’m not a guy!”
My excitement was not matched, as she gave me a look of shock and confusion. I don’t want to make this entirely about myself, so I’ll give the gist. The following weeks of therapy were extremely invasive and uncomfortable, to the point I simply refused to speak at times and leave after 5 minutes. We stopped shortly after as I pretended to be “better”. Much more harm than good was done in that period of time.
My point is that people don’t understand trans people at the level they really should. Trans Day of Visibility is a day meant to promote that understanding. It’s for trans people to speak and have their voices heard.
It’s important to acknowledge that for most trans people, their identity is not a choice. Gender Dysphoria (the condition that many trans people suffer from) is a painful neurological condition where one’s gender does not match their biological sex. It can only really be alleviated by gender affirming actions aesthetically, medically, socially, or in a variety of other ways. Even then, dysphoria is extremely limiting in many aspects of one’s life and never truly goes away. To make matters worse, trans people often face external barriers.
These can manifest as “simpler” issues, such as the inability to find a bathroom they can use or gender affirming clothing that fits their body type. It can also appear as broader issues such as access to affirming care, employment opportunities, name changes, etc. The issues also extend into the abstract when social isolation, dissociation, and the ever-present feelings of not belonging are discussed. In addition, it’s not uncommon to face harassment, threats, or even violence for being trans just about anywhere in the world.
As trans people face a cold and unkind world and likely will for years to come, change is happening. Where you are, it might not be legislative. It might not even be noticeable to most people, but it’s vital to creating a better future. At my most recent competition, my old marketing mentor didn’t know I was going by a new name and pronouns. When she accidentally greeted me with my deadname, my whole team (hailing from an extremely bigoted part of rural Indiana) all stepped in to correct her at once.
You could look at the news and see all the legislation being passed to hurt trans people, but make no mistake, the humanity of most decent people will prevail as it always has throughout history. Looking at all this change, subtle as it may be, it gives me hope. While FIRST has a long way to go, the action they’ve taken and the environment they’ve created gives me hope. Seeing more people feeling ready to come out in spite of everything gives me hope. Not everyone can be visible today. Even within FIRST, many trans people are not able to live as who they truly are for a variety of factors. To them, I wish to say that we’re here, and we’re with you, no matter what team, nation, or culture you come from. It’s apparent in the pins, the pride flags, and representatives now being almost omnipresent at all FIRST events. I would like to thank you for reading this, and wish you a happy Trans Day of Visibility.
- Eva True [Indiana]
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is a student run organization that advocates awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ students, mentors, and volunteers of FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST reaches out to over 1000 members across the FIRST regions and fronts multiple outreach endeavors.