As we began to see a wave of “bathroom bills” being proposed to harm transgender people, I began to joke with my friends that when I used the bathroom in rural areas, I ought to leave a pile of glitter on the sink with a note that says, “You shared a bathroom with a trans person! Congrats!” The point, of course, would be to make people realize–we’ve been here all along.
You just haven’t noticed.
It seems that as transgender rights become more visible in the public eye, people think of it as some sort of “issue” that is happening far removed from them and their neighborhood. We think of transgender role models, and we think of celebrities like Laverne Cox, but we’re your neighbors, too. We sit in your church pew and we shop at your grocery store. We think of transgender hate crime victims, and we think that it happens somewhere else, but happens everywhere.
These moments of beauty and triumph, as well as tragedy, are happening your neighborhood.
In the wake of Trump’s anti-transgender military ban tweets, I joined with other Atlanta advocates for a rally in support of Atlanta’s transgender community. Even in Atlanta, it seemed some were surprised to meet all of us gathered there who are transgender. Many were excited to learn that the creator of the transgender pride flag is, in fact, an Atlanta woman named Monica Helms, who also happens to be a Navy veteran. Given the focus on military service, her story is one that inspires resilience and has caught the eye of national news outlets like CNN and Buzzfeed.
Our community is talented and vibrant, and yes, we’re your neighbors.
And yet, sadly, just a few days later, right here in Atlanta, I walked into my morning yoga class to learn that one of our own trans sisters of color, TeeTee Dangerfield, had been murdered in Atlanta. I often take Atlanta for granted as being safe for transgender people.
Our community is at risk for violence and discrimination, and yes, we are your neighbors.
So I ask you, friends: Do you love your neighbor? Have you gotten involved in your local area to be an ally with the trans community in your neighborhood?
Learn how Rev. Kim Sorrells can partner with you or your church here!