Red, White, Blue…and Trans

July 4th–formally known as Independence Day—a day of outdoor parties, fireworks, and time with family and friends, right?

But what does this day mean for our Transgender citizens?

Let’s reflect for a moment on the privileges of freedom and liberty.

It is a privilege to live in a country without armed military units patrolling our streets, to shop for goods in huge stores with an amazing array of choices, to travel freely from state to state, to own not one, but several cars, televisions, and even houses.

It is a privilege to live openly as who we are, following our own paths to happiness and fulfillment.

But we need to keep in mind that much of our privilege—which is often interpreted as what we’ve ‘earned’—is really granted to us because we belong to the dominant culture. That is, how we live, who we are, and how we move through the world, appears normal.

Sometimes, normal means we are acting or living in a way that doesn’t upset anyone else. It means we are living in a customary or conventional way.

This year on Independence Day, let’s take a short refresher course in American History and consider that definition.

Over the years, our national stories have shifted, describing the early colonists as people who undertook a dangerous and excruciating journey to find life, liberty and happiness away from an oppressive government. We see these early immigrants from across the ocean as brave farmers seeking pioneer life and good soil for their ploughs. This is a compelling but inaccurate re-write of history.

Life in England became intolerable for anyone not enamored of the King and the Church. People were killed, their land stolen, they suffered continuous persecution, and new ‘laws’ were fiendishly designed to rob them of any freedom left to them. They were punished because they were acting or living in a way that upset the King—they were not conforming to his customs or conventions. Review the Declaration of Independence for a chilling account of what they were up against.

And while the journey to the New World was full of peril and certain death for many, it was a better choice than staying in place and dying slowly under the control of a cruel despot.

Remember those privileges of freedom and liberty I talked about earlier? Few of our Transgender citizens enjoy those privileges.

Listen to the words of our Transgender citizens:

“I’ve been living with this my whole life; I just can’t do it anymore.”

“I know my family will reject me…I know I’ll have to start my life over…but living this way just isn’t possible any more, it feels like a living death.”

“Since I was a child, I’ve done things for other people, met their expectations, and followed their plan for my life. I’m dying slowly on the inside. I have to live the way I feel inside or life isn’t worth it.”

I believe it is our duty, our obligation, to help Trans people achieve their own liberty. We can do this by providing the care, support and services needed to transition within an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

Louis D. Brandeis, perhaps the most powerful and influential Supreme Court Justice America ever had, said “Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness, and courage to be the secret of liberty.”

Be courageous–call us—and we’ll help you find the liberty and happiness you deserve.

Happy Independence Day!