Parting Frames of Empowerment

By : Jake Stevens
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The tone of issue 23.17’s cover story, “We Are All Mercedes Successful,” is obviously pretty heavy. We’re discussing the murders of 19 members of the trans community. How can it not be?

Death is no easy topic to talk about, especially when it involves the murder of your peers. We asked a lot of our trans brothers and sisters who gave us themselves for the story. We asked them to go to that mental place and tell us about the times that they didn’t feel safe. We asked them to stand in front of a camera and present an image of a person who’s fate they could easily share. We asked them to unapologetically present their authentic selves to the world through our readership and demand to be noticed. We asked for a lot. For some, it was understandably just too much, and I am especially grateful for all the people that made the decision to be a part of this story.

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Trans of thought: Role models

By : Melody Maia Monet
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MaiaMonet_MugOne of the toughest experiences I had during my transition was coming out to my then very young son. After consulting a child psychologist on how to best handle the difficult situation, my ex-wife and I sat him down and tried to explain what was about to happen in terms that an eight year old could understand. It was truly awful in a way that I wish none of you ever experience. However, in the midst of the tears, my son said something that both shocked me and brought a moment of levity to the otherwise grim proceedings. He said, “But Dad, everybody knows that boys rule, and girls drool!” Looking back, I can chuckle a little at what was obviously a schoolyard lesson in gender politics that I’ve since done my best to correct. At the time though, I remember being taken aback, but nevertheless cracking a wan smile and wondering at how my son had managed to absorb assumptions of male superiority at such a tender age. Especially in a household that was quite liberal and emphasized equality.

Had I not been embroiled in the highly emotional situation of the moment, I would have remembered that socialization doesn’t just happen at home. We were not our son’s only teachers. Society plays a tremendous role through school, friends and media. As parents, it can be difficult to counteract some of the more pervasive messages our children take to heart, and sometimes we have no idea what is going on in their developing minds. That was certainly the case for me when I was growing up in ways I am sure my parents did not dream possible.

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Trans of thought: Finding myself, meeting you

By : Melody Maia Monet
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MaiaMonet_MugHi, I am Maia Monet. Or at least I am now. You see, there was a time I went by a different name in my other life. I won’t tell you what that name was, but suffice it to say I am transgender and Maia is much more to my liking.

Watermark has asked me to write in from time to time and provide you my perspective as someone who identifies with two letters in LGBTQ+ (hint: not the G, B, Q, or +). It seems they think I’m good with words, which isn’t surprising considering how much attention transgender people pay to words. Of course words, such as pronouns, have a particularly deep impact on how our identity is affirmed, or not, by the public.

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