*tap tap* Is this thing on? Oh, hi there! Been ages since I’ve written anything here. You’d think between Trump, guns and all the other craziness I’d be here all the time. But it’s almost too overwhelming… I never know where to start… or where to stop.
But today I’m here to briefly (which is not usually my way) write about International Trans Day of Visibility.
I do know some trans people. While I can’t say I understand, I don’t need to understand to treat them with dignity and respect, and to speak up against discriminatory measures against them, like the recent trans military ban. And neither do you!
If you know someone before and after transitioning, it can be particularly challenging. You have to get used to different pronouns–which won’t come naturally–and probably a different name. It’s a struggle. You’ll fuck up from time to time. But what’s important is putting in the effort, and showing that you care.
A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows how important it can be to make that effort. Via ThinkProgress:
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin interviewed transgender youths ages 15-21 in three cities in different parts of the country about their chosen name use, depressive symptoms, and suicidal thinking and behavior. Respondents indicated whether they were able to use their chosen name in different contexts, including at home, at school, at work, or with friends.
The results showed a very clear link. For each additional context in which they could go by their chosen name, there was a 29 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts and a 56 percent decrease in suicidal behavior.
Simply using a person’s chosen name can literally help to save their life! According to the National Institutes of Health, the rate of suicide attempts for transgender people ranges from 32% to 50% in various countries, with 41% of American trans people trying to take their own life at least once. In Australia, fully half of transgender people attempt suicide, which is staggering.
To all the transgender people out there, whether friends, acquaintances or strangers, on this Trans Day of Visibility I want to tell you I see you. I may fuck up from time to time when it comes to a pronoun or a name, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have your back. Stay strong!