As part of pride month here in the USA, I’ve come to support the Gender and Beyond event here in West Virginia this week. I love coming to events like this and joining in with the community.
They’re tremendous opportunities to, uplift, empower and inspire other trans women. To learn from some incredible role models, who are at every stage of a journey towards becoming their authentic selves.
In addition to learning, I also am lucky enough to present some of the training I’ve developed through my advocacy work as part of the YNotbU charity and host informal one on one sessions with trans women, who are seeking support and encouragement in their journey.
Even though I may have just met these women, they’re my friends, my tribe and I love to hear their voices roar !
The theme of my opening talk is “Uplift, Empower and Inspire”. Three simple words, which I see some in our community regularly forgetting the meaning of and words that are well worth reflecting on and remembering.
As transitioning women, we’re becoming part of what some refer to as “the fairer sex”. It has compassionate, nurturing, empathic, protective and supporting behaviours which I sometimes see an absence of in our community. To give you an example, I received an email from a one of my clients yesterday which ended “No-one ever gave me any support when I was transitioning. Quite the opposite in fact, I used to regularly get told I looked like a man in drag, or my clothes weren’t appropriate or my makeup application was rubbish. Afterwards, when I once gave someone some advice on a situation they were going through based on my own similar experience, I was told to **** off” and mind my own business. Why do I want to be part of that community anymore ?”
In my counselling experience, such a story isn’t unusual. Sadly. When I replied to this particular client saying that “change for our community begins with her” she replied “Why do I want to be part of that ? I can change and get on with my life just fine without it.”
What is it about the peer to peer support within our community that leads to this kind of situation ? We should be building each others confidence, not tearing each other down. After all, our own candle doesn’t burn brighter by blowing someone else’s out. So why do it ? Each of us are going through the same issues, have the same sense of dysphoria, the same insecurities, the same sense of alienation. Our transitions could be so much easier if we just offered a kind word to each other now and again. It wouldn’t make everything go away, sure, but, just to know that there are other people who see things from our perspectives and are able to give moral support when we need a little boost can make the world of difference.
Even though it can often be as simple as our own securities playing out, the best way for us to overcome these isn’t to make other people feel worse about themselves. Remember the time you woke up one day and didn’t feel like a million dollars ? Remember how you felt when someone you didn’t know agreed with you and you felt a million time worse ? Women all over the world are learning to amazing things can happen when they support and uplift one another, so why don’t we do the same ?
Would love to know your thoughts and how you will make a difference for your fellow sisters. Why not drop me a line ?
Love and hugs