TDOV: Promoting trans culture positively
by Abra Cullen
This year’s theme for Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) is “Surviving and Thriving.” For Alaire Nadaeu, to survive as a trans woman is to thrive.
“Surviving to me has been building my support system and taking care of my needs. Thriving has been the ability to continue to live as my true self and being seen as my true gender. I feel that being visible is the only way to break a lot of the preconceived ideas of what transgender is or looks like.”
For a trans person, there is always the chance that someone will ask something inappropriate, but Nadaeu is unafraid to stand up when she’s uncomfortable.
“People don't always know what questions make us uncomfortable. Because of that, I try to ask how they would feel about being asked that or saying I won't answer the question because of the pain behind the answer.”
Some, like Nadaeu, have been on the transition journey for a while. For others, this marks their first TDOV.
Jamie Ellips came out as trans a year ago in June. Although she came out recently, Ellips already seems to have a grasp of what it means to thrive as a trans person.
“Thriving to me means promoting trans culture positively so our trans-siblings, no matter where they are on the spectrum, don't feel that have to hide and sneak around.”
Ellips voices understanding of the struggles the trans community faces on a day-to-day basis.
“For one to thrive we need affordable hormones, and doctors, primary care and specialists that are informed and can make accurate decisions. [We need] to be able to get a job without discrimination and acceptance from people outside the trans community.”
Additionally, Ellips is trying to form a better relationship with her community within WitCoN, the Wichita Transgender Community Network.
To assist the community in continuing to thrive, Ellips had some advice for those interested in making trans voices heard.
“I think anyone that wants to be an ally to their best ability needs to research and stay current with issues that face the trans community. [Allies need] to be more aware of what we have to face on a daily basis, and what we are still trying to accomplish.”
For some who don’t fall on either side of the binary, TDOV is especially important.
Princeton Niblack said for them TDOV means better representation of their community.
“Nonbinary people get very little when it comes to representation in media or even discussion about the LGBTQIA community. We're excluded by the grammar snobs of the English language. I use TDOV to bring my experience as a nonbinary person to the forefront.”
Before Niblack came out, the representation of other nonbinary people gave them the confidence and joy to pursue their gender affirmation.
“We are constantly facing a barrage of invalidation from cis and trans people alike. Not seeing people like you anywhere can make you feel alone.”
To make up for what they lacked in their childhood, Niblack uses TDOV as an opportunity to be what they never had.
“TDOV is a day to use my position as an out nonbinary person to be the person my younger self-needed.”
Copyright The Gayly – March 31, 2018 @ 1:30 p.m. CDT.