A Love Letter to the Transgender Community

We see so much trans pain and suffering, but I promise you: trans joy exists, and it is there, and it is beautiful


Trigger Warning: This piece discusses transphobia and homophobia, on both a personal and state level. Please tread carefully, and take care of yourself.


Once again, the rights for transgender and queer people to simply exist are being debated.

Trans individuals are seen as threats when they do not threaten: The underlying basis of the Religious Discrimination Bill is that by, simply existing authentically and truthfully, trans and gender-diverse children are proposing a risk to freedom of religion. This, for lack of a better term, is complete and utter bullshit.

The past week has been, quite frankly, exhausting for the trans and gender-diverse community. As a transgender person, I am so sick and tired of justifying my right to simply exist. I am so sick and tired of fighting tooth and nail for a scrap of respect. And I am so sick and tired of explaining, again and again, to cisgender people, that I, alongside my trans siblings, deserve better.

The reality of being a transgender person in so-called ‘Australia’ means that our lives are seen as unlivable. Being trans is framed around a false narrative of being impermanent and disposable, and the trans and gender diverse community is so often dehumanised by ‘our’ Government, that our pain and deaths are met with indifference. This lack of humanisation has been something so pervasive, opening the doors for exploitation, and subjecting us to physical and emotional violence, by both individuals and the state.

Although the Government, as of 10 February this year, has shelved the Religious Discrimination Bill indefinitely, this ‘victory’ is bittersweet. Once again, the Government has opened the doors for transphobic violence, providing transphobic individuals with both fuel and a platform to spread their hatred. Once again, the transgender community faces public debates about our very existence and a media shit-storm. Once again, trans children across the nation are desperately trying to figure out what is wrong with them, and what is so dangerous about their mere presence in the classrooms. 

The struggle for queer and trans liberation, fed on by the blood, sweat, and tears of many individuals like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, continues, and it is far from over. Many cisgender queer people seem to believe that the fight has ended with the Marriage Equality Act in 2017. As per usual, minorities within the LGBTQIA+ community are being left behind, although it is so often these minorities who have dared to stand up and fight back.

I am angry, and I have every right to be.

I have spent far too long justifying my existence to others, and myself. I have fought far too hard to unlearn my internalised transphobia to simply be quiet. Because of my transgender identity, I have had to watch myself fall apart, again and again, and have had no other choice but to pull myself back together. I am strong, but not because I chose to be. I am strong because I had to be. And I refuse to let young trans kids fall down a similar pipeline of pain, of violence, and of self-hatred and destruction. 

To transgender youth, and my transgender siblings: I have your back. You are so much more powerful than you know. I know you hardly see yourself represented or depicted in a positive light, and this recent Religious Discrimination Bill has done nothing but dehumanize you further, but I promise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Nothing. You will find communities that you can thrive in, and you deserve to flourish, to grow, and to experience the profound joy that comes with being radically, unapologetically queer.

We see so much trans pain and suffering, but I promise you: trans joy exists, and it is there, and it is beautiful. I see it every day in myself and in my body, in the gender euphoria that I experience on hormone replacement therapy. I see it in my home, in my housemates, in my friends. I am here for you, and I love you. You deserve better than this. Let yourself rest.

To cis queers who think that the fight is over: Do better. Glitter is not solidarity. Pride is not a parade. There can be no pride for some of us, without liberation for all of us. Pacifism is dangerous. Do not abandon the struggle.

To allies: we need you now to band together and stand up for us, to protect us, and to fight for us—even when we are not watching.


Image courtesy of Ezra Burnett.

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