Coming to terms with the fact that I am trans took a while to understand. When I was 13 years old, I started having thoughts about my identity and if the person who I was acting like was really who I was. Having more knowledge earlier on and living in a more accepting society most likely would’ve led to me knowing much sooner that I was trans, and I would’ve come out years before I had.
This is why things like Transgender Awareness Week are so important. Awareness increases representation of trans people and gives allies knowledge of the issues that trans people can go through. Having proper education can also help people at younger ages come to terms with who they really are. Instead, people are shamed into a lifetime of being in the closet, which for many young trans peopleleads to suicide. Creating environments for trans people to feel accepted and loved in a community is so important in preventing this. This is what the people at Planned Parenthood have done for me.
In addition to creating community, Planned Parenthood also provides reproductive health care that trans people rely on every day. Hormone replacement therapy can be – and in many instances is – a life saver for trans people dealing with debilitating amounts of dysphoria. A lot of the time, the LGBTQ community doesn’t have access to affordable, non-judgemental, good health care. Planned Parenthood provides STI testing, wellness checks, and many other services LGBTQ folks rely on to survive. The people who work at Planned Parenthood are caring, and provide a space that is free of judgement for all people to be able to get the best care they can get. It is a space where a lot of the people in the LGBTQ community, including me, feel safe and cared for.
This week marks 13 months since I’ve been transitioning, and about 10 months since I’ve fully been out to the world. It is so important to me to have a week like Transgender Awareness Week to make more people aware of trans people, who we are, and the issues we face on a daily basis. Hopefully, that will do a lot of good in educating and creating a more accepting world, and even help some understand that they might be trans too. Volunteering at Planned Parenthood has helped me find accepting communities that I want to be around, and who want me around. In the short time I’ve been volunteering there, I’ve made so many good friends who’ve helped me with a lot of issues that I have with accepting myself. They’re like part of a new family for me – one that will love and accept me for who I am, no matter what that means.