Transgender Day of Remembrance

It’s a sad day in the transgender community. November 20 is recognized as Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor those who were murdered for being trans. Today is set aside to make sure they’re not forgotten and that they live on, recognized and remembered for their bravery in living their authentic lives.TDOR

There’s a website dedicated to those who’ve died due to anti-trans violence. I encourage you to visit, to read, and to educate yourselves about those who’ve been killed over the past year. And while you’re reading, you might be interested in other resources, like the background GLAAD provides to help journalists understand why TDOR is needed.

I hate that this day is even necessary, and yet I love that we have a way to honor those who died for being themselves. To those who’ve died due to trans violence, I honor your courage and your legacy.

On this Transgender Day of Awareness, I ask that you do something that’s authentically you, no matter how you identify. There’s only one of each of us in this world – we should celebrate that which makes us unique everyday, but today, especially.

What will you do to honor yourself today?

Transgender Awareness Week


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Happy Trans Awareness Week! This is a time to raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and the issues these groups face.

It’s a big week in the community, and it ends on Friday with Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), in observance of those who’ve lost their lives to violence and hatred against them. To learn more about it, visit the TDOR website.

It’s also an important week for me personally as I launch my book tomorrow! Who Am I If You’re Not You? is centered around a same-sex couple facing a gender transition, and their journey to weather the change and all it entails. I’ll be holding a launch party and am excited to get this book officially out into the public!

Whether you’re a member of the trans community or an ally, please do something this week to acknowledge those who are transgender and gender non-conforming. Check out GLSEN’s website, or GLAAD also has a list of ways to support and mark the occasion.

Happy Trans Awareness Week!

What does a #trans person look like?

If you’ve got a few minutes (like 8, to be precise), please watch this video. Go ahead and do it now … I’ll wait.

<Hums Jeopardy theme perfectly several times in different keys for variety.>

Welcome back! What’d ya think? Since you watched it, you already know that it introduces you to two teens who are transgender and shares their story.

I loved it for several reasons:

  • for the education it gives
  • for the bravery they show in living their authentic lives
  • for the support their loved ones showed

But mostly I love this video because it puts faces on trans people. It shows you that they’re just regular people who want nothing more than for their gender to match what they have already felt in their heart their entire lives.

Several times, the people in this video reiterate: I’m just a human being.

I’m just a human being.

They are. They’re not “scary monsters,” or freaks, or someone trying to use the wrong restroom for nefarious purposes. They’re not confused, or going through a phase, or seeking attention. They’re not anything other than human beings worthy of love, like all of us. Worthy of acceptance, like all of us. Worthy, period.

Please, please watch this video if you don’t understand the trans community, and even if you do. I promise, you’ll get something out of it. If nothing else, it’ll remind you you’re human.

 

 

OrionWisdom and me

I’m so excited! As my book, Who Am I If You’re Not You? draws closer to launch, there’s all kinds of exciting things happening. Some of it has been planned for awhile, like my upcoming booksigning events at AFK Books in Virginia Beach, VA and at The Abbey in West Hollywood, CA. I’ve also been planning the Nov. 14 launch party at Over The Moon Books and Artisan Gallery in Crozet, VA for a couple of months.

But today I got a wonderful surprise when my book was reviewed/featured in this wonderful newsletter, OrionWisdom. Check it out and subscribe, if you’ve a mind to. Elisabeth Fitzhugh pens this digital newsletter full of thoughts to help you consider your personal spiritual perspective. I was delighted to be included in this month’s issue, and I continue to be humbled by those who believe in and support this book right alongside me. Thanks Elisabeth!

As I gear up for the launch, I’m looking for other ways to publicize this book. Who do you know who might be able to help its message reach those who need to hear it? Can you help me spread the word by sending out an email, or putting something on social media for me? Or maybe you’d consider sharing this blog with someone who’d be interested. I strongly believe someone, somewhere out there, needs to read this book and I want to make sure I’ve done everything I can to get it to them–but I also know I can’t do it alone. Thanks for helping me give this book wings to fly.

Here’s to our journey together. Cheers!

“I’m Pregnant … and I’m a Stud”

That headline’s not mine but it sure caught my attention, so I stole borrowed it. It belongs to FreedomTwoLove, a blog written by my friend, Rena Ingram, who founded that organization.

I try to bring fresh perspectives to this blog of mine that’s focused on learning about the LGBTQ+ community. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Rena, an LGBT activist, blogger, motivational speaker, and all around great person to know! Read on to learn more about her and her wonderful organization that’s going to great lengths to reinforce the message of #NOH8.

FreedomTwoLove, A Light for All

FreedomTwoLove originated in February 2014 when it held its first event on the campus of Fort Valley State University under the #NOH8 umbrella as it was called, “#NOH8: Addressing the Misconceptions of the LGBTQ Community.” As the founder and current CEO, at the time I was a senior at the illustrious historically black college and university (HBCU) and was a little apprehensive about holding the event because I had never seen anything of the sort provided on the campus – a mark that specifically supported the LGBTQ+ community. Although I knew I had built the leverage to hold such an event by holding various leadership roles throughout my matriculation at the university, building strong relationships with others on the campus, and holding the title as Student Government Association’s Vice President at that time, it was still nerve wrecking to attempt something that had never been done. I began to develop the mindset that if I didn’t do it, no one else would, and it was just as important then as it is now that I stood as an advocate and created a safe space for others within my community – so I did, and it became a moment that would change my life forever.

In 2015, I returned to the university as an alumnus and held yet another Noh8.png#NOH8 event which I rightfully deemed, “Part II.” The outpouring of support I received at that event pushed me to press play on my ideas and develop my own brand that branched away from the shadows of the #NOH8 movement – a decision that inspired the creation of what is now called, FreedomTwoLove. Freedom is defined as the power to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint, love is unconditionally self-explanatory, and “two” is used as a form of unique wordplay to be inclusive of both gay and lesbian love. This brand is different from every other LGBTQ-ally campaign because it strives to bridge the gap that currently alienates those of the LGBTQ community from their heterosexual peers by creating a safe and supportive space for dialogue through events and monthly blog postings for those of the community and others to generate open conversations about the negative biases and stereotypes that are present and evident in today’s society. Its overall mission is to serve as an aid in the fight against the injustices targeted on the LGBTQ+ community and encourage those within the community to build resilient confidence within themselves while simultaneously raising awareness of what’s going on within the community.

FreedomTwoLove is most popularly known for its blogs that are released on the 2nd of every month, such as, “I’m Pregnant … and I’m a Stud,” “The Fragility of Black Masculinity”, and “#ReclaimingMyTime: Don’t Let Your Story End.” By visiting www.freedomtwolove.com, you can not only keep up with the monthly blogs, but can also stay alert to what’s happening in the LGBTQ+ community with weekly news postings. In addition to being a Group Noh8blogger for the brand, I am also a motivational speaker and certainly a LGBTQ+ advocate as I make my way through various communities in effort of helping my community receive better treatment in all facets of life. One moment in particular that I’m proud of consisted of helping train an academy class of police officers for the Atlanta Police Department with a segment called, “Transgender Interaction Scenarios” along with transgender women in the community to ensure that the new police officers will be respectful in body searches, pronoun usage, etc. once they got out into the field.

Ultimately, I understand that this is one of my life’s missions and I also know that the work has just begun. As long as I have air in my body, I’ll be the voice for others that can’t, won’t, or simply don’t know how; and when it’s all said and done, I can only hope that FreedomTwoLove was a light for all.

 

Trans people are not contagious

Trans people do not have cooties.

I repeat: trans people do not have cooties. Call the CDC and confirm it if you like, but you cannot catch any transgender germs from hanging out with someone who identifies as trans.

As ridiculous as it feels to type that, apparently there are some people who haven’t gotten the message.

I read this article this morning and was shocked, saddened, and in a bit of disbelief over the statistic it put forth:

27% of Americans don’t want to be friends with someone who’s transgender.

One in four of us.

What the actual fuck?

I cannot understand why. I mean, I really, really can’t make sense of that.

We’re not talking about proposing marriage, sleeping together, or even living in the same household. SIMPLY BEING FRIENDS WITH A TRANS PERSON IS A BIG. FAT. “NO” for one quarter of our population. Wow.

And WHY? Or why not?  Is it fear? Misunderstanding? Disgust? Religion? Judgement? Or something else?

Would love your thoughts on this. What are your experiences? Do you have friends who are trans? If you’re trans, have you had experience that you’d share regarding people who won’t befriend you? I really want to understand this statistic and could use a little help from my friends.

And because I’m not trans, at least I can assume I have some friends…

 

Where’s “Who Am I” now?

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I’m glad you asked!Option A

My book Who Am I If You’re Not You? is now available!

It’s the true story of one woman’s experience when her spouse changes gender. I’m extremely proud of this book because it presents the partner’s viewpoint, which hasn’t been well represented before now. There are a number of books out there that document what it’s like to be trans … but very few take into account what it’s like for the other half of the couple.

You can read more about it at www.whoamithebook.com.

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Help me win!

And hey, while you’re at it, maybe you’d consider voting for it! It’s up for an Independent Author award at TCK Publishing. Three steps to voting:

You’re awesome for doing so!!! (Actually, you’re awesome no matter what but this would really help me!)

The book has garnered some amazing reviews. Here’s just a bit of the feedback I’ve received so far:

“Once you start reading this book, you can’t stop.”

“Impressive, vivid, powerful, uncompromisingly honest. It made me cry and it made my heart sing.”

“A non-fiction page-turner, something of an anomaly in my reading experience. A true story, with true heart, told by a true writer.”

“Lynn captures the heart of Jen’s story well. I feel thankful to have read it.”

I hope you’ll consider supporting this book with an order (or two. The holidays are coming, you know).  I truly believe in my heart of hearts this story has the potential to help someone through their dark times, and will educate others who don’t understand what it means to transition.

Come and see me at the launch party! It’ll be held November 14, 2017, at Over the Moon Bookstore & Artisan Gallery in Crozet, VA from 7-9.

 

The ABCS of LGBTs (aka, how to teach kids about diversity)

It’s back to school time, and I’ve seen a lot of FB posts about ensuring thatkids and schools remember that bullying is never okay. So true! As the target of a few bullies growing up, I can recall all too well that feeling of being less-than. I wanted nothing more than to fit in and a few mean-spirited kids made sure I knew I didn’t and never would. It hurts.

Everyone deserves the chance to just be themselves and to be accepted for who they are.

In the spirit of that, I offer you something about how to explain LGBT to kids of all ages, so that children who identify as LGBT don’t feel ostracized. Check out this link from WelcomingSchools.org. It offers kid-friendly definitions that will help a child understand what some of the myriad LGBT terms mean. It also emphasizes the need to make sure that when defining terms for children, it’s smart to use examples to help them understand the definitions.

As with any discussion you have with kids, it’s a good idea to let them lead it. Found what they’ve heard and what they *think* it means, and then clarify as needed.

And it should go without saying, but here’s a prime opportunity to make sure that a child is not using any LGBT term in a derogatory way. They may have heard it used that way; as a caring adult, it’s your job to set them straight (no pun intended!).

Let’s teach our children to be allies instead of bullies!

Hats off to Cville Pride but not a stupid hat vendor

As if Charlottesville hasn’t had enough to deal with lately, the city’s Pride Festival is now the victim of discrimination.

The Festival organizers were working on merchandise orders, like this awesome purple shirt (in case you didn’t know it, I’m a tried and true purple fan). They also tried to order hats through a company called Legacy Athletics.

Notice I used the word “tried.”  Wanna know what they got in response to the order they placed?  This:

I am sorry for the delay, this is a design that we would not be able to produce.

While Legacy does offer custom logos, we also carefully nurture and protect our brand.  One of the ways we keep a positive connotation to the brand, is by avoiding doing any products with custom logos that might be deemed as controversial, political, offensive, etc.  This does not in any way mean that we either support or do not support the organization making the request, but the reality is that in light of recent events in Charlottesville as well as the fact Gay Pride events are political activism; we respectfully decline this order.  Again, I hope you can understand our position.

Ummm, sorry, no. I don’t understand your position. I understand you’re discriminatory.

So hats may or may not be part of Cville Pride Festival this year. You know who definitely will be? Me. I’ll be there with my book, and I’ll be prouder than ever to let my Ally flag fly.

I hope I’ll see you there, with or without a hat on.

When “just” is a four-letter word

I recently read something from someone who, like me, said she is “just” an ally. When I saw those exact words — “just” an ally — it really hit me. I felt the same way. I belittled my position because I don’t exist within the LGBT community. I downplayed my significance to those who are living their life as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

When I saw her post and particularly that one word … “just”… I was struck by a couple of thoughts.

One, why do we think we’re lesser because we “only” support the LGBT community?

It’s true, we don’t live the daily struggles of someone who is LGBT. We haven’t experienced the discrimination they face, the fear they live with, and the harrassment for just being themselves. And thank God for that. What a tremendous injustice those behaviors are!

But just because I haven’t lived it doesn’t mean I don’t understand. I’m sympathetic. I see the injustice and the pain it causes, and it hurts my heart. No, I don’t live it but I sure do *feel* it.

My second thought when I saw that word, “just,” was indignation. (Even though I’d also thought it. Welcome to my schizophrenic mind.) We, as allies, can be a force to be reckoned with. We *don’t* experience those struggles, that discrimination, or fear … and yet we stand up against it. We rally around those in this community because we care. We see how our friends and loved ones are treated and we recognize how wrong it is.

Better yet, we can do something about it.

We can work to change the discussion. We can work to educate those who don’t (or won’t) understand. Our words and our actions are weapons to be used to defend those who are LGBT. We can defend through personal conversations, at PRIDE events, and at the polls. We can volunteer. We can be a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on.

Allies have the capacity to change perceptions, to change behaviors, and to change minds. That’s pretty powerful stuff. That’s nothing to sniff at. Forget “just” being an ally.

So the next time you think about being an ally, be proud. I am. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to change the world.

Right after I finish my coffee.

P.S. If you’d like to read more about how to be an ally, please visit my website at www.lynnthorne.com and click on “Giveways.” I’ll send you tips on being a better ally!