I almost killed myself two or three times in 2019. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is also true. I’m not saying this to garner sympathy, or even worse, elicit advice. Rest assured, I am taking the steps necessary to improve my state of mind. It is just that being trans can often feel like existing in a vat of acid eating away at your dignity and integrity. It is the rare trans person who hasn’t contemplated escaping the pain through drastic means. If you don’t believe me, find a trans person in your life you happen to be close to and ask them if they’ve ever created a suicide plan. Don’t be surprised if they have a ready answer.
Perhaps my first column of the year should be about looking forward with a sense of optimism, but that doesn’t reflect my life as part of the trans community. I sometimes wonder if cisgender people appreciate how difficult it is to be transgender in today’s world. They might be able to quote the suicide rate for trans people, but I suspect they are detached from the reality of our everyday lives. They don’t actually experience the emotional stress of hearing about yet another government policy meant to incrementally erase the legal status of trans people. They can’t comprehend the blinding fear of coming out as a trans woman to a cisgender heterosexual man who might decide violence is the appropriate response.