Representation matters. For members of the transgender community, finding an individual who represents how you feel can be difficult, myself included. When I was growing up, I always thought I was alone. That the feelings I dealt during my youth would be nothing but a phase. But as I grew older, I learned that I am not alone. And while some assholes make trying to be who you truly are seem unattainable, please know you are not alone. March 31st is the Transgender Day of Visibility, and I wanted to share with you some individuals that are and have been changing the world for the better.
Alan L. Hart changed the world of medicine. He was a physician, radiologist, Tuberculosis researcher, and writer. Alan became the first transgender male to go through a hysterectomy in order to live each day as himself. Dr. Hart pioneered the use of X-Ray technology to help the fight against TB. Through his work, doctors in later years would be able to cut down the rate among TB patients to one fiftieth. Hart died in 1962, but he instructed his wife to create a foundation in helping find a cure for Leukemia.
In 2015, TLC premiered a show following the life of a transgender girl going through her teenage years. The show I Am Jazz introduced the world to Jazz Jennings. At the age of 2, Jazz asked her mother if a fairy Godmother would change her from a boy to a girl. As the show progressed, the audience at home learned the struggle and triumph of what Jazz endured. I Am Jazz gave other transgender individuals across the world the knowledge that they are not alone. And during the run we would also be introduced to Noelle and JoJo. Two transgender girls going through the same struggle trying to find acceptance in the world.
The violin and guitar produce one of the most beautiful sounds in the world of music, and for Alexander James Adams, that is exactly what he brings to the table. Adams is a songwriter, musician, and singer in the Celtic genre. One of the fun things from his website: he is referred as the heir to his past life. Adams has won multiple Pegasus awards which are given out to members of the Filk Music community. The genre is tied to Science Fiction/Horror/Fantasy fandoms.
For a long time, the stigma on wrestling fans left a bad taste in people’s mouths. But while the genre as a whole, still has a long way to go, steps are being made in the right direction. If you are wrestling a fan, may I suggest googling Hoodslam? Hoodslam is not your average wrestling show. Founded by Sam Khandaghabadi in 2010, the show sought to bring change to the performance art she loved. Tired of keeping her act as something for the whole family to enjoy, Dark Sheik decided to start her own revolution and now the company is taking the bay area and the independent wrestling scene by storm. The gritty, nerdy, indie rock wrestling promotion speaks perfectly to the angst in everyone. Plus, who doesn’t love entire show that is 80s themed.
— Khandaghabadi (@darksheikftf) February 9, 2020
Our wrestling list does not end there, as a fan of wrestling, I always wanted someone that I could look up to. And that is where the current AEW Women’s Champion Nyla Rose fits in. I had no idea who Nyla was until last year when she made her debut during the Double or Nothing Press Conference. After that moment, all I wanted to do is see Nyla in person. And when the time came to go to my first AEW show, she was on the card. My eyes swelled; water started to leak. I’m a big girl and I do cry. It is the first time I felt represented in something that I am so passionate about. Plus, if that is not enough, she is also an actress. She is the star of a sitcom called The Switch which premiered in 2016 on OutTV in Canada. I am a proud member of the House of Rose.
Recently, I learned of a documentary called Southern Comfort. The film aired on HBO in 2001. The documentary follows Robert Eads. A transgender male who ended up in a life ending battle with ovarian cancer. He was diagnosed in 1998, but was turned down for treatment by over a dozen doctors. The doctors feared their reputation would be hurt by treating a transgender patient. The cancer advanced throughout his body, ultimately bringing his life to a sad ending in 1999. The movie follows Eads as his transgender wife and he sets off to go to one of the biggest conferences in the country for transgender individuals, Southern Comfort. It would be his last appearance at the conference but delivers a heartfelt speech and takes his wife to prom. I share this story with you, because in the 21 years since its release, the medical field is taking large strides to make sure transgender patients are getting the treatment needed. Still a path to continue making, but better than yesterday.
On Twitter, I found an amazing individual to follow. Her name is Charlotte Clymer. She is an activist, a writer, has held the position of the press secretary for The Human Rights Campaign, and protected this country as a member of the US Army. She has penned pieces for publications such as Vice, The Independent, and NBC News. But one of my favorite things about Charlotte is her personality. She raised $170,000 for Elizabeth Warren for her presidential campaign by dropping a vague post over a show with a terrible finale. I even guessed How I Met Your Mother, but it ended up being the show GIRLS. She is one of my favorite people on social media.
There was a series that was really popular several years ago that I got super invested in, and every now and then, I think of how terrible the finale was and still get pissed about it.
— Charlotte Clymer ?️? (@cmclymer) February 24, 2020
When you think of boxing, what names come to your mind? Ali? Tyson? Mayweather? Holyfield? How about Patricio Manuel? Manuel is the first transgender male to compete professionally in the world of boxing. He was picked by Everlast, maker of boxing gloves, to be the face of the company in September 2019. Manuel hurt his shoulder and would not be able to compete at the US Trials for a chance to represent the US at the 2012 Olympics. When the injury happened, Manuel decided to transition. But the transition proved to be one of the biggest fights of his life. He was shunned by his trainers and gym. He fought the boxing commission to allow him to step through those ropes. In 2018, he would triumph in his first fight back.
I am a sucker for politics, in fact, almost as hardcore as some fantasy sports fans. I don’t let people know that about me. But in 2017, I took notice of the state of Virginia. A journalist for local publications, Danica Roem decided to try to make a difference and run for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. And she won. Danica became the first openly transgender individual to be elected in any US State Legislature. She won with over 50% of the vote and did it again in 2019. Danica is a trailblazer, but also the type of person that defines role model. During this difficult time in our country, Danica made a move that helped every child in this country. She fought the USDA and won. The USDA had a rule that the child needed to be present when parents are to pick up lunches for children from schools. And during this pandemic, Danica wanted to change that. The USDA said that the child no longer needs to be present, making this tough situation easier for a lot of families across the country. She is fighter for the people. Maybe one day, she will eye a seat in the US Congress.
The Virginia state House began in 1619.
Every transphobic remark before 2018 could only be rebutted on the House floor by our great allies, not a trans legislator with lived experience.
Now, not only do we rebuke bigotry, we pass pro-equality bills like HB 1049 as we do it.#TDOV https://t.co/rYbijHv4bk
— Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) March 31, 2020
There are thousands of stories of transgender individuals across the globe. Every story is different. But one thing is will always be the same. Be Yourself. It’s not an easy path, but at the end of the day seeing the true you, makes it all worth it.