If I see one more dead trans woman on a cop show, I am going to pull out my already thinning hair. Pop culture loves the narcissistic trans guy (or even better, “boi”), the drug-addled butch lesbian, the screeching drag queen, and the sensationalized dead trans woman. With media images like this it’s no wonder mainstream America thinks we’re so desperately unhappy and to be avoided at all costs. Well, I know some great folks who are ordinary and amazing all at once. Here are a few of them:
- My friend Jamie just biked across the continental divide twice today. She freaking bikes all over the place, sometimes for charity. I did an interview with her a while back.
- My friend Jay is a sociology professor. He teaches about medical sociology. Don’t know what that is? Look it up!
- Tom Léger started a transgender-focused press and two of his books have already won awards. See his interview with Morty Diamond.
- Imani Henry is a longtime activist in NYC and just got his masters in social work. Take that, social safety net! Imani is on it!
- My friend Aleisha owns and runs a kick ass hostel in Ontario with a full-sized Dalek in the lobby. I may be making up the Dalek but I don’t think so.
- Imogen Binnie and Ryka Aoki wrote two of the best books out there in the last year. Seriously. Buy them. Read them. Tell your friends to buy them and read them.
- My friend Riley is programming a physician management system, one of the biggest ones in the country. Your blood pressure and medication list? She helped build the system that captures all of those data.
- A tiny town of 50 in Wyoming has a trans woman postmistress. I was thrilled to get postcard stamps from her, and I’m not sure if she knew why.
I know five trans social workers, two trans nurses, three trans doctors, five trans professors, one trans firefighter, a whole mess of trans writers, three trans folk who run successful nonprofits, and more than a dozen who mentor young people. Many people I’ve met volunteer a good portion of their time, contribute to their communities, and have befriended their neighbors. We are geeky, serious, shy, brazen, endearing, hardworking, curious, affectionate, love animals and movies and pets and long walks on the beach—sometimes.
We are ordinary, except for this radical thing we had to go and do to get where we are today. And for some of us, even that thing feels pretty average. We identify in all kinds of ways around our gender, and often we don’t feel like talking about it. Especially if you come up to me to ask about the dead trans lady on TV last night. For real. Go buy a book by Carter Sickles and then come at me for conversation.