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We Need This

Trans Cabal is a new website for trans people to, in the words of its editor, Sophia Banks:

“…share work, essays, articles, and other projects that celebrate the beauty of being trans and to also help educate the public about trans people and some of the amazing stuff we do.”

I follow Sophia on Twitter and that’s where I learned about the website. The heart and soul of Trans Cabal is a project co-created by Sophia and CN Lester, called Songs Of Ourselves, a place for trans people to celebrate all the beauty they find in their lives and bodies.  This is important.  Positive self-image is a daily struggle, especially in a society that still feeds the public with so many negative images of what it means to be trans.

The premise of Songs Of Ourselves is wonderfully simple: submit a photo of yourself that makes you feel joyous, or confident, or beautiful…a photo that makes you feel good, and explain why.

I’m happy to have submitted a self-portrait along with a few hundred words about the experience.  It was liberating to go public with my smile, something I never liked to do before I transitioned.  There are eleven stories and photos published so far, and I hope the number of contributors grows.  And for all trans people, I hope the future offers many more reasons to smile.



What’s The Narrative?

All trans-narratives share pieces of a common story, but all trans-narratives are not the same.  Class, color, economic conditions, and age–all these things matter.  My personal history is shaped by my place in society.  I do not face the same set of obstacles that many trans people face.  I haven’t had to deal with rejection from my family–rejection that many people are left to deal with.  And I have access to health insurance and a place to live.

It’s hard to realize the amount of grievous loss suffered by many people who come out as trans.  Love, work, friends, home—one or all of these things could be gone in a flash.   I’m someone who’s had a great deal of support during my transition.  My family is 100% on my side.  I have a great therapist.  Due to a history of chronic social-shyness and anxiety, I have limited social contacts.  But the friends I have, they remain true.  In short, there are many bad situations I haven’t had to navigate–at least for now.

Not to say it’s all rainbows and unicorns….

Sometimes it’s hard to realize the amount of losses that can’t be seen.   I count myself lucky to be alive.  (There were several times when things could have ended for me).  It’s scary when I look back at my life and realize how much time was spent waging internal battle with myself.  This was my biggest loss, my biggest struggle.  And it still is.  I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but there are still times when my self-esteem and sense-of-self go crashing to the ground.

After that, rock-bottom could be just a short trip away.

That internal struggle for self-identity is perhaps the one absolute thing that all trans-narratives have in common.  At least that’s what I believe.   Keep mind, I speak for myself and for no one else.  So, whenever I write from my own experience (good or bad), I don’t mean it to be universal.

But in this case, I’m pretty sure it is.