As a Black transman, I get a lot of messages about who I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to look like and what my life should manifest as.
The back-to-school season can bring a mixture of emotions for parents and kids alike. For some it’s all excitement. For others, it’s nervousness and trepidation. For transgender children and their parents, it can be a time of sheer terror. While some schools (and the communities they are in) are great, others are so anti-trans that it feels like we are sending our kids into a war zone.
Who am I?
I know the answer that is normally given would be; name, age, hometown, college, work, children, pets. Those answers are available, but before I list the things you can find out with a quick search I will define myself.
I realized how much I hated myself the day I admitted to myself that I’m trans. I’d never noticed before then the nauseated feeling in my stomach each time I looked in a mirror, or how I never could take compliment without some type of rebuttal, or how much I clamored for attention while looking for the exit at the same time.
“Well—a lot of them would have been safe if they weren’t out all night sinnin’.”
“We’re worried that our children’s program won’t grow. Parents won’t bring their child to a church with lesbian pastors and so many gay people,” a deacon stated woefully.
“Isn’t she pretty?” he said as he pinched my cheeks and introduced me to a prestigious male academic, “you’d never know she’s smart.”
Each morning, the first time I rise the sky is still inky blue and outside still smells like night time. I brush my teeth and sit in my meditation corner. I pray in love for peace and preparation. I ask our Creator that if lives must be sacrificed for change, that this change is forever and we never have to repeat this moment in history.
I’m writing here about what I always, somehow, write about: the unlearning of shame. This is the topic on which I’m most focused. It’s my focus, for in the process of unlearning shame, we simultaneously remember our worth, which connects us to Love. And Love—the inherent sense that we’re both loved and emanations of Love—is at the heart of authentic, Christian teaching.