November is Transgender Awareness Month across the United States. It is a time to celebrate the diversity of gender many Americans and especially many New Yorkers share.
We often confuse a persons sex with their gender. A persons sex is determined by their physical anatomy, how we are put together physically. Gender, on the other hand, is in our minds, how we see and think of ourselves, who we feel and believe we are deep within ourselves, how we express who we are to other people around us.
Transgender Day of Remembrance occurs annually on Nov. 20. It is a day to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, or the hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and acts to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
In our culture, we quantify sex and gender as a binary of possibilities male or female with little room for variation in between. Transgender people transcend or cross over these traditional gender lines to live our lives outside of societys norms. As transgender, we view life not in a strict male/female binary concept but rather a much fuller and richer continuum of possibilities across a variety of gender related spectrums.
Often misunderstood, transgender is an umbrella term used to describe a larger group of people to include cross dressers, gender non-conforming individuals, people who identify as transsexual. Many or most transsexual people may be in various stages of changing their physical bodies in order to bring their minds, bodies and spirits into one unified, whole, happy person.
Our great nation was founded on the principles of life, liberty, freedom and justice for all. Yet even today we fail to live up to these lofty principles we so proudly profess. We routinely sacrifice our brother, sisters, sons, daughters, parents and family members in wars around the world to defend these principles, yet denying these protections to our own very citizens. I understand many in society may not like or perhaps agree with our lifestyle, but is that not why our veterans fight, many losing their lives in order to protect our basic freedoms?
The LGB community and especially now the transgender community are not looking for more or special rights, we are only looking for equal rights already extended to other members of our society.