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In the past two days, I’ve come out to a total of 3 people: my brother, a cis male former co-worker, and a cis female friend of mine from college.

All responses have been universally positive.

For weeks, I’ve been trying to tell my brother, going so far as to tell him I’ve been meeting up at a trans-specific group on a fairly regular basis (somehow, that didn’t raise any red flags for him…). Finally, last night, I just asked him if he could talk to me outside for a minute, and said:

So, I’ve been meaning to tell you this thing about myself. For the past several months, I’ve been wrestling with it especially hard, and it’s something I’ve felt to some extent since I was 10 or 11: I’m transgender.

I then went on to give him a small amount of background on what I’ve gone through so far in terms of therapy and hormones.

He took it all in, and then he simply said:

Okay. Thanks. Great. I’m happy for you.

Perfect!

As far as the two friends I came out to, I did that online. The male former co-worker gave me about the best answer I could have expected from him:

*Lengthy pause* Thank you for feeling like you could share this with me. Not much changes for me. You’re my friend.

The response I got from the female friend of mine really made my day (shortened for brevity & privacy-sake):

Homegirl! …I have so much to say to this…. I’ll respond ASAP, but know this: I’m so proud of you.

My heart feels so full with happiness right now.

This makes me feel like I’m making some true progress, feeling like my true self to more of the world. I can’t stop now, though! So many more people to tell!

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[HRT update: 12 days in]

October 22, 2012

Oh, I know. I know, I know, there’s not much to report on.

But I don’t care.

Why don’t I care? Because I feel happy. My emotions are still a jumble, but overall, I am happy. This intense feeling of not being correct, balance-wise, it’s fading. I have a sense of progress, a sense of hope. I just feel less distracted by the world around me, and more focused on me.

Now, obviously, I’d love to be further along, but I am where I am. It makes me happy to think that someday in the future (6 months? 9 months? a year?) I may feel confident enough to go through life 100% of the time as my true and genuine self.  These changes within me will only become better and more apparent as time goes on, but even in the beginning, there’s a slight sense of peace that I haven’t felt before – like I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. But now, ever so slowly, I can feel the edges of the square being worn away, rounding off.

Hope. It makes me so wonderfully happy.

Here’s a picture of me from last year vs. a picture I took over the weekend.

Actually, Mr. Hull, after reading and re-reading the e-mail you sent to a man named Zachary… I just can’t let it go.

Zachary, I do not support the LGBT. I slept on the truth; shame on me

I don’t understand. The school board handbook, in Section 7, Page 1 (for reference), states:

Students are the first concern of East Aurora School District No. 131. All policies and actions of the Board of Education and staff are directed toward promoting the educational welfare of the children of the District.

How exactly can you say you promote the educational welfare of the children of the District when you’ve publicly stated that you “do not support” a significant percentage of them? That’s a very serious question.

Under “Goals,” on that same page:

To enhance the self-image of each student by helping him/her to feel respected and worthy, and creating a school environment that provides positive encouragement through frequent success.

How on earth is taking a hard line anti-LGBT stance promote the goal to “enhance the self-image of each student by helping him/her feel respected and worthy?” You’re basically saying to about 10% of the students “I do not care about you. I do not support you.” And in my earlier e-mail, I brought up the fact that LGBT students, especially transgender individuals, are nearly 40x more likely to attempt suicide. Your job is to care for them. Your job is to help “him/her feel respected and worthy.”

Again, under “Goals”:

To provide for the safety, health and welfare of all students.

Your stance is incongruent with this goal, too. You’re suggesting that a transgender student, should they be brave enough to be their genuine self, that they should be forced to use the restroom of the opposite gender? That someone assigned male at birth should be forced to (dangerously) use the men’s restroom? There are a multitude of reported incidences of trans women being assaulted should they be forced to use the men’s room. Your stance promotes this.

Should you vote to rescind these newly implemented equality measures, it will undoubtedly cause harm to LGBT individuals. Perhaps that’s what you want. I don’t know.

All I know is that your personal opinions on the transgender community, wrong they are, need to stay out of policy.

And what makes this especially sad, sir, is that you, as an African American, should realize what negative impacts prejudice and discrimination can have in the world. Civil rights need to be for all, not just for some. And, should you vote to rescind this policy, it should be noted that you lied to get elected:

What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?

…My number one priority will be to give the students of District 131 every opportunity available to be excellent in whatever career and life choices they make going forward.

I hope that you were able to “sleep on the truth” again (I’m still a little confused what you meant by that) and vote tonight to protect the rights of all students.

I do hope to receive a reply to this message.

Thank you.

For those who don’t know, the East Aurora School Board recently came under fire from the Illinois Family Institute (a designated hate group) for adopting a policy offering protections for transgender students & faculty. They are meeting tomorrow at 5:30pm to consider rescinding this policy. I encourage others to write the officials listed below. Here is my letter:

FROM:Parker Marie (____________@gmail.com)

TO: boardofeducation@d131.org, jroberts@d131.org

CC: info@d131.org,  dadams@d131.org, caird@d131.org, jglotzbach@d131.org, breyeschildress@d131.org, arodriguez@d131.org, grosado@d131.org, jbarraza@d131.org, rbassett@d131.org, mboyd@d131.org, nbradish@d131.org, ebrouch@d131.org, ccail@d131.org, ncarrillo@d131.org, sconrad@d131.org, fdelossantos@d131.org, mdemar@d131.org, cengland@d131.org, garza@d131.org, agroh@d131.org, rhedrich@d131.org, mhenson@d131.org, hkincaid@d131.org, nlittle@d131.org, amcmahon@d131.org, wmorales@d131.org, rpape@d131.org, mpatterson@d131.org

DATE: Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM

SUBJECT: Protect the rights of transgender students

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing, pleading for you to not cave into pressure from the Illinois Family Institute regarding your recent adoption of policy to protect the basic human rights for transgender students & faculty within your district.

As you may not yet be aware, the Illinois Family Institute has been designated as a “hate group” by the non-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center.

Here are some choice words from the IFI’s Director, Laurie Higgins:

In 2009, Higgins compared homosexuality to Nazism, likening the German Evangelical Church’s weak response to fascism to the “American church’s failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality.” Elsewhere, Higgins has pined for the days when gays were in the closet. “There was something profoundly good for society about the prior stigmatization of homosexual practice… . [W]hen homosexuals were ‘in the closet,’ (along with fornicators, polyamorists, cross-dressers, and ‘transexuals’), they weren’t acquiring and raising children.” She’s also said that McDonald’s, because it ran a gay-friendly TV ad, is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.”

Most organizations don’t bother to take threats from the IFI seriously, which makes me ask, why are you considering abandoning a truly positive, progressive policy that will negatively impact 0 people? Did you know that more than 40% of all transgender individuals have attempted suicide? Compare that to the general population (1.6%). Why on earth would you move backwards on a policy, cowering behind fear, when you know this is an already suicide-prone group?

I am a transgender woman. Unfortunately, due to the schools I went to and the societal pressures working against feeling that way, I wasn’t able to come to terms with that fact until I was 26 years old. I went through some very dark times. Very dark times. Suicide sometimes seemed like a better option.

I was lucky to be able to hold on as long as I did. Others aren’t so lucky. Do you know what could have prevented 20 years of feeling like a broken person? Answer: a school not afraid to reaffirm me as an individual. A school that didn’t cave in to bullies like the IFI. A school that didn’t make me feel like less than a person.

Their fears are not based in fact. That’s the worst part. They claim there’s some sort of gay and trans agenda. There’s not. We just want to be treated like real people.

This isn’t about politics. This is about human rights. I certainly hope you realize and understand that.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reach out to me if there is anything I can help with.

As of yesterday morning, I am officially in possession of a prescription for HRT.

I am psyched.

This puts me on a path that I’m just so very sure of. This puts me on a path towards being a person, and not just a shell of one. It’s hard to verbalize the feeling I’ve had so much of my life, but needless to say, it just wasn’t pleasant. I felt such a disconnect with myself, with my body, with how I’m perceived by society. At times, it was all I could focus on. Other times, this feeling – as would any chronic feeling – wasn’t noticeable anymore, and I felt I could continue to push forward as was. This didn’t mean those feelings went away (they didn’t), just that I was so conditioned to be, look, and act a certain way that I was on autopilot.

No one wants to live their life on autopilot. I want to live in the now. I want to feel. I want to do more than just survive.

I want to contribute to society. I want to share my love with the world around me.

In a lot of ways, this is the first day of my life.