As many of you know, today marks International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today is the day where we sit and reflect all of those lost to senseless violence against transgender individuals, and it is also the day where my heart feels the heaviest. As a transgender man, words cannot begin to explain the feeling one walks around with, knowing about the extreme violence perpetrated against transgender individuals around the world, always wondering if something like that will happen to you.

Today, I hope you will reflect and remember those we have lost to this violence. I also hope, however, that you will take the time to evaluate and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to support a healthy environment for transgender or otherwise gender-variant individuals.

Today also has a lot of meaning for me because tomorrow is the day where my partner begins the first step in his journey–top surgery. Even talking about it makes my eyes well up… I am so proud of him and the strength and courage he has shown along his journey, even in the face of all of the senseless discrimination, hate, and bigotry in the world. I am so excited for what this means for him, and what it means for our relationship. 

So, on this day, I ask you, once again, to remember those in the transgender community who we have lost. Progress is coming in our society, even if it is not as fast as we all would like. For others however, acceptance wasn’t even a possibility. These individuals are the ones who have stood before us and have shown such strength and courage; this is what has forged the path for our acceptance.

I also want to take this day to thank each and every individual who continues to be true to themselves and their identity, even while knowing the hate that still exists. Your journey is so important and takes an enormous amount of courage, no matter where you are in your process. Even if it is not the right time or place for you to be out, your courage is still enormous.

Continue to be true to yourself and all that you are, and continue to honor those lost because they chose to do the same–not just today, but every day.

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As many of you …

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