Monday, June 18, 2012

They Said It Could Never Happen

I'm old enough to recall when the word transgender wasn't even in the common vernacular, and the idea of transgender people living out and proud was an absurd concept.  And yet ...

It wasn't so many years ago that outside of the stage performers, that we were all a very closeted bunch.  A friend of mine that transitioned back in 2002, was amazed when I suggested that while there was no need to shout "I'm transgender" from the rooftops, that she shouldn't hide but neither hide it either.  You're past is part of the sum of who you are, I suggested.

She stared at me in disbelief.  "Are you crazy! This is my life, and if people know about my past, my life will be over; any chance of a career ruined."

Mother Flawless Sabrina related to me at a party in 2004 that "Back in the 1960s, when I launched the first national trans-beauty pageant, we couldn't even refer to it as Miss Gay Chicago, or Miss Trans Chicago. Hell, you could get arrested back then just for being dressed in public.  So we'd simply call it Miss Chicago, or Miss San Francisco, etc."

Wow, have things changed.  We've seen in recent years transgender people in growing numbers transitioning on the job, and succeeding in a variety of careers; advocacy, politics and business not the least of them.

Diego Sanchez became the first transman to be hired to a senior congressional position; Victoria Kolakowski won election to become Superior Court judge of Alameda County; Gina Duncan was appointed the first transsexual Vice President  of the Metropolitan Business Association;  Amanda Simpson was appointed by President Obama as Senor Technical Advisor (the first time a trans-person has been appointed to the executive branch of government), Allyson Robinson was the first trans-woman to be hired by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), where she has served as their Associate Director of Diversity. 

And now, Charlotte’s Janice Covington (shown in photo) becomes the 1st North Carolina delegate to the Democratic National Convention.  

People may be disappointed in Obama thus far, but we've had tremendous strides under his leadership.  It's been a long time coming, but the trans community has built a solid foundation on which to continue to expand the rights of trans people. 

1 comment:

  1. You are right on all points...we have come Sooo far!!!
    Who would have "thunk" it?
    I also agree we are the sum of all our past parts. The more we embrace and learn from our life the better we become and the more likely to pay forward a positive transgender experience.