The Holidays are upon us.
This time of the year, those things in the title become important. People think about visits and gatherings, films and tales and stories will be told about times like this in the past.
For many people, this will be a time of celebration, or good tidings and glad cheer, and it doesn’t matter what the faith is — there’s enough going on in the heart of winter for just about everyone, secular or religious.
Trans people still have too great a likelihood of losing their families. In many parts of the country here in the US, judges will take children away from trans parents for no other reason than they are trans. In some countries of the wider world, you have to not have children just to be able to transition, and in most of the world, you basically have to be sterile (and prove you are sterile) to be able to change documents to reflect reality.
Family, then, is a challenge for Trans people. The idea of a family gathering, which may have been a good thing in the past, now becomes a painful thing, a hurtful thing, a moment of longing and despair.
Things are changing — but trans people don’t always see that, don’t always know that, and far too many of us are lonely and feeling outside things. The world is still a hostile place for us.
And, because of that, we have a suicide rate that is only measured by those who tried and failed.
In the general population, that rate is around 2.6%, I believe. I could check for you, but I’ll let you do the leg work — it’s not that high, not that hard to find.
Among the trans population that rate is 41%.
And yes, that’s roughly twenty times greater.
That means that this time of the year, right now, is a time when we will see a great many people contemplating the end of their lives by their own hands, for no other reason than, really, they don’t feel lie they have a chance to feel loved, to feel welcomed, to feel needed and wanted.
This is the time when if you know a trans person, you should take a moment and step out and say “hey, you want to grab a cup of coffee?”
yes, it might mean you have to listen to a horrible sob story and a lot of whining about how woe is me my life is.
This is the Holidays.
Seriously — you’ll survive the ordeal. And, if its someone you know only a little, odds are really good that you will forget it not too long after, and you will be surrounded by stuff that blows it all away and let’s you get on with things.
But that trans person you do that with might not kill themselves because of that.
They might suddenly find a purpose, or a direction — hell, for all you really know, they might decide to make the world a better place.
It has happened.
It will happen.
Also, odds are really good that they will never forget that moment.
Do not underestimate the power of a little Holiday Cheer, a momentary kindness, and positive action.
This matters. This matters a lot, and the only people who can really make a difference are people who are friends, and allies, and family, and significant others.
Suicide brings us more loss than the murders we recognize each year.
Yes, there are a lot of drama queens among the trans community.
In no small part because trans people have to deal with a crapload of drama that teaches them to do that. Their lives really are that bad at times.
If you approach me and say “Toni, were you abused as a child?” I’m going to tell you no. And its true. My parents, my family — they loved me. They did nothing out of a sense of being mean or cruel or whatever to me. There was no neglect.
And yet, because I am a trans person, I would also have to say yes — because there is more in our lives than our families, and culturally, institutionally, symbolically, spiritually, and emotionally, Trans people are the victims of childhood abuse and neglect.
And it doesn’t even matter if they meet the “i knew in early childhood” standard narrative.
This is because trans people are not like Cis people, for whom the world is built, and constructed and designed and often those things that are done are harmful to trans people. And that harm gets into them deep, very deep, it affects everything in their lives, it shapes and molds them, and when you step back and you look, you see that trans people all have exactly the same problems as people who are recovering from abuse and neglect.
It is quite literally scary how close it is, even down to fractional issues within the population.
And the suicide rate among that group is just as high.
And most of those come during this period.
There are many things that are going on all the time — we have people who call us men, we are said to be a danger to women in the restroom, we are told that we can be “fixed” by a bout of sex we don’t want, we are told we are sinful and perverted and horrible and these are messages we have to face every single day.
And we will fight those people, and we will stand up to them, and we will tell them they are wrong and it doesn’t matter because we are still hurt by those things, which have been said to us about us for all our lives in some form or other.
This is the time of year when you can make a difference like no other, and so I am writing this post to plead, to beg, to grovel if I needs must because this is *that* important.
Please help them. All you have to do is be nice. All you have to do is share a bit of that holiday spirit.
All you have to do is let them know they are wanted, they are seen, they are heard, they are cared about, they are wanted.
It *will* make a difference.