Three years ago, the outlook for transgender people in America was optimistic: Time Magazine announced the “Transgender Tipping Point” in May of 2014, as pop culture milestones and minor LEGAL victories were falling into place at a pace that suggested more substantial victories would not be far behind.
We’re looking for short fiction stories! Think you can write a winning story in 1,500 words or less? Enter the 18th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference! The winning entries will be on display in the 16th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.
I had hoped for a quiet, productive day though I knew such was virtually impossible with all three children at home for the holiday break. First thing this morning my oldest got sick and passed out. Later he insisted on trying to eat a muffin which he promptly threw up all over the kitchen table, himself, and the floor… need I mention I am a sympathy puker?
So I had that to clean up, along with clothing, plus laundry I already had to do, plus dishes and various chores… oh, and I had a laptop to clean up and reinstall Windows, (which I am still working on).
So, over all a day I will be happy to forget!
2018 is fast approaching and with it will come the New Years resolutions, the gym memberships, self help books, helpful websites, and more blogs than you can shake a stick at. Any one of them may be just the inspiration you need for a better you.
This is assuming, of course, there is a “you” to be made better.
What help is there for someone who wakes up one day to the realization they really have no idea of who they are? When you look deep inside and find nothing more than broken pieces of possibilities, unrealized hopes, and forgotten dreams? When you listen to the voices inside and everything you hear are the opinions of others you took in and made your own because you thought they knew you better than you did yourself. When your entire personality is built from reactions borne of self preservation and fear?
The National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) completed by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, found that 41 percent of trans individuals surveyed had attempted suicide—the general population number at the time was 1.6 percent. A study by the Williams Institute analyzing the NTDS report found that suicide attempt rates were even higher for those between the ages of 18-24 (45 percent), those with a multiracial background (54 percent), those who are American Indian or native Alaskans (56 percent), those without a full high school education (48-49 percent), and those with an annual household income less than $10k (54 percent). The study also found the suicide attempt rate was higher among those who disclosed to everyone that they were trans or gender non-conforming (50 percent).
Announcing: Transgender Illinoisans can begin working on the new state forms allowing them to correct the gender marker on birth certificates without requiring expensive and often unnecessary surgery, consistent with modern medical standards. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, but the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) forms are now online.
One form is for the doctor or mental health professional to fill out and the other is for the #transgender or intersex person born in Illinois to complete.
The new law was a 2017 initiative of a coalition including Equality Illinois, the ACLU of Illinois, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Howard Brown Health, Lambda Legal, and AIDS Foundation of Chicago. It was sponsored by state Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields and signed by Governor Bruce Rauner.
I am at a loss. I find myself in a place I never imagined existed, a blank space where I no longer know who I am. I close my eyes and I can’t see myself, I speak and do not recognize my voice. I open my thoughts and they avoid me.
Last Saturday I was lost in a haze, overwhelmed my dark thoughts and emotions but I knew who and what I was even though it was something I despised. I was prepared to let nature take its course one way or another.
Then everything changed.
As I said before, something rose up inside me. I don’t know what it was nor why it blazed to life when it did. It drove me forward when all I wanted to do was stop. It refused to accept defeat when all I wanted was to lie down and die.
I didn’t know what, if anything of my former life might be awaiting me. Every thought was there would be nothing, that A would have had enough, she wouldn’t answer if I called, the door would be locked when I knocked. I knew I would once again find myself alone with nothing but the clothes on my back. I expected nothing more, deserved nothing more.
Even knowing this with every fiber of my being, this thing… this force wouldn’t give up, give in, or let me stop. Even with acid tearing through my body, unable to stand up or walk straight, unable to see beyond my shuffling feet or at times my knees upon the ground, it forced me to continue.
I have mostly recovered physically. There are some twinges and sore muscles to remind me it wasn’t my imagination, but mentally… emotionally, I am battered and torn. I cannot grasp what the force was other than to say it kept me alive despite my best effort. (Of course this speaks the lie I have told myself my entire life… there was an escape hatch if I was courageous to take it. No… there is no escape, no easy out, I am condemned to see this through to the bitter end.)
What I don’t know is what the path forward may look like, where it leads, or even who I might be once I take the first step.