Friday, April 3, 2015

NCTE Staff Members Named in 2015 Trans100

This past weekend, I was deeply honored and excited to have been named to the 2015 Trans100 list along with my colleague, Sandy James. It was especially humbling to be included with so many others that I consider personal heroes like Myles Brady and Monica Jones. The Trans100 provides a much-needed opportunity to gather as a community and celebrate the positive and diverse body of work being done across the world to fight for our community.

The Trans100 is an example of how much our movement grows each year and gains visibility.

Though visibility often comes at a price, for many, visibility can be life-saving and affirming. This was especially true for me and for many others like me who were in Chicago celebrating this past weekend. On a personal level, visibility means that my work, my contributions, and my identity as a Black transgender man is seen, respected, and valued.

But as keynote speaker Tiq Milan pointed out, we must strive for a society that embraces a more comprehensive definition of acceptance, as visibility often falls short. Tiq said, “Acceptance is much more than visibility. It is safety, leadership development and giving space for self determination, and accountability. Acceptance is the re-examination of the systems and structures that have killed us, disenfranchised us, marginalized us, and told us that we didn’t matter for so long. It is intentional and deliberate. This is what we should be demanding from each other and from the rest of the world. We have to be each other’s champions, the way my mother was my champion.” Tiq’s keynote was particularly moving to me because no amount of awards, public recognition or accolades can ever replace the feeling of being fully accepted and championed by my own mother, my friends, and allies.

The Trans100 is an annual occasion marking how far we’ve come and it was a true honor to be included this year. As I continue reflecting on the Trans100 honorees and their contributions to trans visibility, I recommit myself to advocating to ensure every trans person can be visible without a cost. I also strive to be a better a champion for my colleagues and friends.

If you are a trans person who would like to support the visibility of our community, join me in contributing to the 2015 US Trans Survey, the update to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Learn more here.​

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