I was born under a wandrin’ star/ Mud can make you prisoner, and the plains can bake you dry/Snow can burn your eyes, but only people make you cry/Home is made for comin’ from, for dreams of goin’ to….. Wandrin’ Star lyrics by Alan J. Lerner music composed by Fredrick Loewe from Paint Your Wagon
As a child I always dreamed of being a pilot or an astronaut. I thought if I could go far enough away, I could find some place that I could live my life as me. Now don’t get me wrong. I loved my family and never felt like I wanted to run away from them or anyone else, as much as I was running toward something. Running toward the real me.
I’ve used the analogy many times that for my entire life I’ve been like that determined salmon swimming up stream. Jumping up waterfalls, jumping up damns, and doing my best avoiding bears. I am still swimming. Swimming against hate, people who are determined to bully me into returning to something I never was, people demonstrating the disapproval of me, or even threats of violence against me and people like me. These bears are real.
I’ve read several articles lately where trans women say they cut themselves. Anxiety and depression are very prevalent with many of us because of society’s pressure to conform. I’m not sure why, but at a young age I started running. At 64 years of age, I still am running. It seems to help me with my depression. I am not sure of the how the metaphysical benefits of running works with helping my mental health, but I know it works for me. Now this is in no way is telling anyone else to run or replace their mental health professional with running, but it works for me.
Part of the trouble with my running, is that I have always ran away from any kind of fight also in my life. My guy friends always laughed when ever there was trouble that I would get behind them until after what ever went down was over. I hated confrontations and even though I had to do it at work I avoided it as much as possible. I guess you could say I was chicken, or a sissy or whatever derogatory term you’d like to use. Yes I was, and still am.
These days I make myself confront bullies from all walks of life, and especially those who bully transgender kids. The stakes are just to high for me to run away. Of course I’m not the only one who is standing up to these bullies. There are lots of brave transgender individuals and many allies who put a lot on the line to protect others.
The one thing that always bothers me about Transgender Day of Remembrance(TDoR) is that we talk about the murders and violence but never talk about solutions. With this being my 4th time going to a TDoR observance today, I hope we can talk about how as a society we can start to prevent much of the violence that society thrust upon us. How we can protect trans kids, transgender people of color, and other marginalized people in our community. Please take a moment to consider how you can help. Your support may be a matter of life and death to someone.