This first year of writing Trans Girl at the Cross has been enlighten for me. Not only opening myself up in a way I never in a million years thought I would ever do, but I have had the opportunity to start conversations with people from all over the world wide web. In the beginning, I really wasn't sure or confident in how to handle the critics and trolls. Do I even respond to the critics? But as time has passed my focus has shifted slightly. Now, I don't mind the trolls, the critics, the detractors. If you are a writer, I have learned the hard way, you have to be prepared to face those that disagree with you. As my best friend has been teaching me, even those individuals that don't share your opinion but take the time to give it anyway are adding to the conversation.
On Tuesday, I shared my top five favorite posts from the first year writing Trans Girl at the Cross. For this anniversary week for me, I wanted to share some of the posts you may have missed that really got conversations going. I encourage you to take a look at each one and bring your voice to the table, agree or disagree, it's all good.
5) Fibromyalgia Sucks; When your mind and body betray you - Sometimes, one of the benefits to writing is just getting something off your chest. This post came out of an unusually tough couple weeks of symptoms from the Fibromyalgia. I have my good days and I have my bad days. One of the blessings I found in being able to share the struggles I am going through is that I am not alone. Though this post only had a few comments on it, I received a several messages via the Trans Girl at the Cross Facebook fan page. All of them were people telling me they were glad to read about someone else going through the same thing they were. By sharing each others stories, we provide support and sometimes new ideas for coping with the symptoms. Fibro sucks, no two ways about, it sucks big time. Having others to lean on, even on their words, means a great deal to me.
4) An apology to the first transgender person I ever met (and insulted) - At the beginning of 2013, I opened up Trans Girl and had several guest bloggers join me to tell their views and stories about their experiences with the transgender community. This post and the idea of opening my blog to guests grew out of a conversation I had with the author of this post Christine Whitley. She and I spent some time talking at our ChicagoNow Christmas party. She told me that she wished she could go back and apologize to the first trans girl she had meet, but didn't know what ever happened to her. I offered my blog as an avenue to give that apology in the hopes that someday this woman would find it. Though this post never had one comment left on it, it has been Tweeted 11 times (which for my blog is a lot) and is still my third most popular post for the last six months. It was a post that came from the heart that was beautifully translated into words. It was honest, sincere and I believe spoke to people both in and out of the transgender community.
3) The Personal high cost of Transgender Transition - This topic seemed to hit accord with many people. One of the aspects of transition that doesn't get talked about outside the trans community is the financial burden that are incurred. Thousands of dollars are spent to try to correct what nature got wrong. The lack of financial support is pretty harsh and trying to face a world feeling incomplete drives many to an unthinkable end. This subject needs to be talked about more and awareness raised.
2) Being Transgender is not a Choice - There wasn't any surprise that this post made the list. There is so much controversy about what it means to be transgender even within the transgender community itself. It was not surprising that I hit a few nerves with what I wrote. Some people took comments I made out of context and seemed to be offended. But let me tell you that in no way was I ever trying to offend anyone nor was I trying to say that we, the transgender community, are defective. Just to set the record straight, being born with a birth defect, a position I am not likely to change anytime soon, is a far cry from being defective.
One of the biggest struggles we have is trying to communicate and explain ourselves to our family, friends, and co-workers. There are many, many people that have the wrong idea of what being transgender really means. For decades now, sensational media has only done us an injustice. It's time the trans community starts setting the record straight. We need our voice to be heard and not dismissed. We need conversations to happen, then and only then we, as a society, will more forward.
1) Don't Call me a 'He'; Educating the Medical Community - This post by far got people talking. Being in the hospital can be nerve racking enough, add the extra layer for the transgender individual of not knowing how you are going to be treated and how you are going to be referred to in your records. In two stays in the hospital back in January, I found out just how uneducated some doctors are about the proper way to refer to transgender patients. This post also brought out the lack of knowledge the public really has about transgender individuals. This started a conversation that went on for a couple days. Take a look for yourself and add your voice.
I want to leave you with this thought. We all come from different backgrounds, different experiences, different views. But when we can sit down and talk, there is no doubt in my mind that we will find things about each one of us that we share. When we have laid that foundation, then we will hold a respect for each other to work through the difference. We have to realize that we are all human, nothing more and with that we can start building a frame work of conversation.
Tara Scalzo, fellow blogger and my dearest friend, summed up this point better than I ever could. We were both new to ChicagoNow and she described in her guest post for Trans Girl our first meeting each other. Two women from vastly different backgrounds, she wrote , "As a writer, as a parent, as a human, we had so much in common. The conversation easily flowed. It was comfortable. This was good."
I personally want to thank everyone for their continued support and let's keep the conversation going!
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