Sunday, April 07, 2013

Out And About

I have always been an “Out” trans-woman, but I know that being out is not for everyone and last week was “Transgender Visibility Day.” In their weekly press release Lambda Legal was about being out.
“One of the most important changes on the horizon for transgender people is more visibility,” says M. Dru Levasseur*, Transgender Rights Attorney for Lambda Legal. “And for some, ‘coming out’ means putting your life at stake. But I think that’s what happened in the lesbian/gay movement, and it propelled the movement forward. Once people realize, ‘I know somebody who’s transgender,’ it changes everything…it makes it personal”

Today is Transgender Day of Visibility, and we celebrate those who have worked to make the transgender community more visible.

“Transgender people are often the most visible and therefore most marginalized part of our LGBT community, particularly those individuals who face multiple oppressions of class and race,” says Levasseur. “These individuals are on the front lines, fighting for everyone's rights—gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight—to be free from harmful gender stereotypes and to define one’s own personal sense of self and expression of that self.”
I have always said about “National Coming Out Day” and now “Transgender Visibility Day” that your first priority should be your safety. Is there a possibility that your life might be in danger? Is there a possibility that you might find yourself out on the street? Is there a possibility that you might lose your job? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you come out because there is no going back. You can’t say that I was only kidding.

As most of you know, I believe that change comes about through education. That is why tomorrow I am speaking in a class at a local university and next week I am giving a workshop at the National Association of Social Workers Connecticut conference. Tomorrow speaking engagement for the Stonewall Speakers a LGBT speaker’s bureau here in Connecticut and we go to high schools and colleges around the state to talk about what it means to be LGBT. If you think that you might be interested in speaking in schools, almost every state has a speaker bureau.

* Dru Levasseur will be giving a workshop at the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalitions's Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference this April 27 in Farmington, CT at the UConn Health Center.

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