Dear trans sisters and mothers and abuelas and aunties and daughters and nieces and cousins,
Thank you for everything.
You are my life. You are my reason for being alive. Like, literally, when I was a young, closeted trans girl, and I became a part of the disturbing statistic that is 41% of trans people who attempt suicide, it was all of you who helped me get through. I saw you and I knew there was hope for me. I read your words and knew I had a future. I saw your lives and knew that I could have one too.
It was you who I looked to to find the courage to come out and it’s you who I keep looking to every day. Without you paving the way for me, I wouldn’t have had the options that I did. Thank you for that.
It took me years and years and years to feel beautiful, and thanks to all of you, now I do. You make me feel beautiful even when I’m at my least passable. You make me not even care about passing anymore. You give me the strength to say “fuck you” to the whole concept of passing. But that’s just for me, if you need to pass to survive or thrive, go do your thing. Put your safety and happiness first.
Thank you for showing me how to be my femme best. You gave me tips on how to apply lipstick, which colors make me look the best and which looks make me the most intimidating. You taught me how to look good in dollar store makeup and 80% off clearance dresses.
Thank you to all the trans women and trans feminine folks who came before me. You get erased so often and you deserve better. We should be teaching about you in our history classes. We should be learning about you on the History Channel. We should be seeing statues and murals celebrating you.
And thank you especially to my trans women of color sisters, you are pure divinity. You are heaven sent and you are the power in my life and in the world.
Thank you for the modern trans movement. Thank you for the entire modern LGBTQ movement. Thank you for standing up at Stonewall and refusing to back down or let the “respectable” queers silence you. Thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you continue to do. You face more discrimination, more hatred, more oppression and more violence than anyone else and you still stand in the front and lead us to a better place.
You are the power behind the movement and the light at its front. And you should be the focus of it.
I’m so sorry that we fail you so often.
My white father has given me privilege that I need to better use to support you. You’ve done so much for me and for every other trans woman and queer woman and queer everyone and I haven’t even come close to starting to pay you back.
Thank you for continuing to fight for our rights even as the rest of the “LGBTQ” movement continues to throw you under the bus.
Thank you for giving me a legacy to be proud of. It makes me beam with pride knowing that it was a fellow trans Latina who was one of the leaders at Stonewall, who fought for the rights of STARs to shine, who shouted and demanded rights for her and for people like her and refused to let others shout over her. It makes me proud to know that at every stop on the road to where we are today, you’ll see trans women of color standing there, fighting and loving and living.
Thank you for showing me that I have the strength within me to change the world. Y’all hustle so much harder than anyone else I’ve ever seen. Although so much of the world tries to stop you, the world stands absolutely no chance against you. And now I know that it stands no chance against me.
Thank you Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major and Marsha P. Johnson. Thank you Octavia St. Laurent. Thank you Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, CeCe McDonald, Reina Gossett, Carmen Carrera and Monica Roberts. Thank you Annika, Luna, Morgan and countless others. I love all of you and owe you everything.
November 14th-20th is Trans Awareness Week, leading up to Trans Day of Remembrance on the 20th. This is a week where we raise visibility for trans people and address issues that affect the trans community. For Trans Awareness Week this year, we’ve asked several of our favorite TWoC writers to come in and share their thoughts and experiences with us. TWoC started the entire LGBTQ movement in the U.S. And they continue to be the victims of most of the anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination. If we aren’t centering things on them, we are failing.