What does Transgender Awareness Month mean to you?

We asked people across The Gayly's region what Transgender Awareness Month means to them. Here are their answers. Remember, Transgender Day of Remembrance is November 20. Join your local observances and vigils to remember those we have lost.

Transgender awareness month, to me, means not only simply showing society that we do, in fact, exist but also bringing to light what it means and what it looks like to be trans in America and around the world. – Elle Boatman of Wichita. She/Her/Hers

I’m grateful for all our ancestors who have transcended paths before us. To our gender diverse folks with their abundance of light and love to promote insight, compassion and healing to our communities. - Kelley Blair of Oklahoma City; They/Them. Two-Spirit; Gender Fluid.

Transgender is not only a state of mind and heart, it's also a state of being. It is realizing and living one’s truth. We exist and will continue to make the world a more compassionate home. Che' Lucci of Oklahoma City. He or She.

Transgender Awareness Month is a time for us to pay respect to those that came before us, to those around the world that died for just existing, and to those that are risking their lives to educate anyone that will listen.  - Dale Manning of Fayetteville. He/Him/Dude!

Transgender Remembrance Month gives me strength. When I see such beautiful people move into who they are, their transformation causes my heart to move forward on the journey I am destined to walk. - Pastor Neill Coffman of Oklahoma City and Expressions. He/Him/His.

I live in Eureka Springs. We welcome anyone! Transgender awareness month means that more of my friends will be given the chance to be heard and will bring more education to those who don't understand.  - Jay Wilks of Eureka Springs. “Out in Eureka”. Male at Birth.

I consider the Transgender community to be precious and most misunderstood. We have too much information out now to not have a better understanding of what it means to be transgender. We are accountable to the community and should be celebrating it. Sara Cunningham of Oklahoma City “Free Mom Hugs”. She/Her/Hers.

When I think about trans awareness I think of how far we need to grow as a society in elevating transphobia. Transgender rights should focus on saving and enriching lives, especially transwoman of Color.  The debate on bathrooms, healthcare and discrimination should be secondary to ending hate and violence.  To have a date in the LGBT+ calendar that memorializes those we have lost in the last year is a sad day indeed. - Samantha Kaye Ruggles of Kansas City. VP Kansas City Center for Inclusion. She/Her/Hers.

When I speak to my trans brothers and sisters, I speak of 'being seen'. Being seen is how we affect change. We can change how people view and value us, how our communities provide protections for us from predators and how we value ourselves. The world needs to know I am no different from them, AND no different from the person they "used to know." Transgender Awareness Month is about being seen, in the mirror, in our neighborhoods and families, and in the world at large. - Sharon Queen of Tulsa. She/Her/Hers.

I worked in the Tulsa County Court Clerk’s office and was being trained how to assist individuals filing name change petitions. They emphasized there would be individuals who were changing their names because of "sex change operations". Every week we would have two or three brave transgender individuals come to our office to file name change petitions. We are surrounded by transgender persons every day. As a volunteer for Oklahomans for Equality 12 years ago, I heard about Transgender Day of Remembrance and led the effort to have our first official recognition. There were only a handful of us. Today our annual observance has 100’s attend. - Toby Jenkins of Tulsa. Executive Director Oklahomans for Equality and the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. He/Him/His.

Copyright The Gayly – November 2, 2017 @ 2 p.m. CDT.