I’ve been involved in the G/L/B/T community for – good God – probably 30 years. I attended my first drag show in Des Moines, Iowa in the mid-80’s and I thought it was just fantastic. It was so exuberant. These guys were able to put themselves out there and really express themselves artistically. I was happy for them. I went to my first PrideFest in Minneapolis when I was 23 and I met the most amazing people. The freedom was so overwhelming to see – people sobbing happy tears for having a place they could be themselves openly – where they could be accepted and loved.

I identify as gender fluid and pansexual, but never had that big, huge “coming out of the closet” moment. No one is really all that surprised if I have occasion to talk about it. Most people don’t need to ask to know this about me. I don’t remember facing prejudice or violence because of how I identified – apart from a few sour faces. I think certain members of my family struggled with it – particularly my older parents – but I think that came out of fear for what it meant for me.

As we move through #metoo and #timesup and speak our truth, I just want to wrap my arms around my trans brothers and sisters and let them know they are not forgotten. I don’t have all the statistics in front of me right now – I prefer to look at the people. And what I’m seeing is that my trans friends are being assaulted often and violently and they are not finding the support they need – and that breaks my heart.

Brava/Bravo to every survivor who is speaking up and speaking out. And if you are trans, know that we’re thinking of you and including you and our hearts go out to you as you speak your truth and heal.

Please feel free to email me at booksbyari@gmail.com with questions or comments.

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