Ever since I started my transition, I have been asked many questions about “how did I know” or “what made me one day in my late 30's come out to the world and tell everyone.” My response is that I just could not look in the mirror anymore and feel good about myself. The day I told the world was the toughest but the best at the same time.
Don't get me wrong, I have struggled at times and felt alone, but what got me through was getting to look in the mirror and say I am free - free to be the real me and free to live without shame. I understand coming out to the world is not for everyone, but it is what I had to do for my sanity.
Finding A Path Forward Through Community
I have lost a lot of friends and family along the way, but the friends and family that stuck with me, and the people I met along the way are so much better and more loyal to me – And I am more loyal to them as well. That is why I tell people that as long as we walk proud and never stop letting the world see us as real people and not a fetish we will eventually win the day.
I truly feel that we are here for the next generation and can help them have a better life. My hopes and dreams are for us in this generation to push forward, so the trans-kids I speak to do not have to deal with the same problems that we have.
Becoming A Transgender Community Advocate
One aspect of this mission is the need to speak more about legislation at both federal and state levels to give transgender people greater protections on our path to equality. Many of our representatives do not seem to understand that equality for our community is even an issue at all, while some local and state representatives duck responsibility by framing it as only a federal issue. We have to get out and speak to more of our elected officials, from both sides of the aisle, and let them know that we are represented in all groups and cultures.
The majority is already well represented in our country and I often see comments which suggest that minority groups such as ours should not be given special treatment because we our relatively small in number. However, I would like to point out that this great country of ours was founded on the principle that we are all created equal with respect to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. We are not seeking so called "special treatment" only the same protections that many of the majority seem to take for granted.
Transgender people simply want to love, laugh, work, and live all aspects of our lives without undue bias. We only want to be judged by our merits, like everyone else in society.
Isabelle Nicol Herman is an out and proud trans woman who takes special interest in helping trans youth and helping trans people move out of the closet and into public live. She is an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Trans*perience Community and can often be found at events hosted by the Bradbury-Sullivan Center. We are proud to have her contribute to the Lehigh Valley Renaissance Blog.
More About Lehigh Valley Transgender Renaissance
The leading organization for support and education around transgender issues in Eastern PA and Western NJ, our focus is on helping transgender individuals as they work through their journey to become their authentic selves while helping the communitiy at large learn more about what it means to be transgender.
Note: The opinions in this article are those of the author and not necessarily that of Lehigh Valley Renaissance