“Lately, I have stopped using the t-word with respect to people who are transgender. The t-word I have stopped using is not the pejorative that might come to mind. It is the word transition. For much of my eight years of teaching about what it means to be transgender, I was inadvertently teaching something I have come to understand creates a different understanding than the one I was trying to create. I talked about my transition. It made sense to me at the time. Today, I have come to know that I did not transition. I certainly did not go from being male to being female. I simply began to uncover the female who had been there all the time.
Many times, I have spoken about the need for protections for people who are transgender. I have spoken in front of school boards, city commissions, and state legislators. I have listened to the opposition express concerns about the safety of women and children if people who are transgender are not stopped from presenting themselves authentically in public spaces. I have seen article after article, and a myriad of comments on those articles, lamenting the same misperceptions.
Without doubt, the most significant barrier to transgender protections and acceptance is the idea that transgender women transition from male to female; that transgender women were once men. Somewhere along the way, I finally made the connection between the objections and the use of the word transition when teaching about being transgender.”