Archive for the ‘Gender’ Category

My friend Kim McKinstry posted the following email she received Monday:

Dear Kimberly:

Thank you for writing, and for your service to our country. Throughout our history, generations of Americans have brought us closer to fulfilling the ideals at the heart of our Nation’s founding—that all of us are equal, and that all of us should be free to make of our lives what we will.

Our country has come far in its acceptance of transgender Americans, but transgender individuals still face terrible violence, abuse, and poverty here at home and around the world. I know that some people have a hard time understanding what it means to be transgender, especially if they haven’t had the opportunity to know someone who openly identifies that way. As brave individuals come out at all levels of business, government, sports, and entertainment, the power of their example is slowly but surely changing hearts and minds.

We need to ask ourselves what kind of society we want to build for the many young people struggling with their identities who deserve a childhood free from harassment or ridicule. Too many transgender people, especially youth, take their own lives because of discrimination and violence, and no one should ever feel so alone or desperate that they feel they have nowhere to turn. That’s why my Administration took a stance against the use of conversion therapy on minors, and why we have been working to address bullying. And when schools sought advice about how to ensure learning environments are respectful and inclusive for all students, the Department of Education provided guidance to educators—because all of our children deserve to know that their safety is protected and that their dignity is affirmed.

We have also taken actions to help ensure that transgender Americans have the same rights as any other Americans. I issued an Executive Order that prohibits discrimination in employment by Federal contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and I signed legislation that includes protections against hate crimes. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there are now important protections in place against discrimination in healthcare, including discrimination based on gender identity. And this year, my Administration lifted the ban on transgender individuals serving in our Armed Forces—because no American who wishes to serve our country should face unnecessary barriers, and our military is strongest when it draws on the skills and talents of all our people.

Again, thank you for writing. Please know I will keep pushing to advance the safety and dignity of every American as long as I hold this Office and beyond.

Sincerely,
Barack Obama

 

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t a sleepless night. It was a sleepless morning. No matter how I try, I can’t seem to sleep beyond 6 a.m. And that includes even if I go to bed at 3 a.m.

depression is

And THAT, dear friends, is what it’s like. Invisible. Insidious. I’ve moved beyond the suicide stage; tried that, didn’t work. Now I’ve arrived at the point where I wish I had never been born.

— To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 19-28)

Futility rules my moods.

My own depression is compounded by the fact that I’m transgender.

not all its cracked up to be

It’s another reason I isolate and tend to stay indoors.

That’s it for now. Talk to you later.

 

Maybe it’s because Tuesday will mark the third anniversary of my father’s death. And by “anniversary,” I mean the third week, not year.

Or maybe it’s because one of the first posts I saw on Facebook this morning was a link to a story in the Missoulian newspaper, “Community mourns loss of 2 Missoula transgender people who struggled with depression.”

2016 certainly won’t go down in history as a banner year for the transgender community. We’re still being killed at an alarming rate, and now the GOP (Grand Old Perverts) want to check inside our underwear before we’re allowed to use bathrooms. This, despite the fact that Republican lawmakers have a higher arrest rate for sexual crimes committed in bathrooms than the entire worldwide trans* community combined.

But I think the main reason is that despite the fact that I am in therapy and on medications for my depression, there are still times when I ask myself, “Is it really worth it? Will I ever truly be free to be myself?”

And that only leads to the most deadly question of all: “Why bother?” Is it worth it, in the end, to continue to fight what all too often seems to be a losing battle? Or should I be a Hamlet, and

[T]ake arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks 1755
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 1760
Must give us pause.

But no. I still don’t want to chance the dreams that may come, and so, again, like Hamlet, I say “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.”

Yet, still, to be safe, I have various suicide hotlines on speed dial in my cell phone, as well as the local on-call mental health crisis team.

So yes, it’s hard. And yes, it’s exhausting. But ultimately, I still have fat too much work to do to quit now.