Honour Your Truest Self - Transgender Awareness Week

by Samson Brown November 15, 2016

According to Glaad.org they define Transgender Awareness Week as follows:

Between November 14 – 20, individuals and organizations around the country will participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces. The final day of Transgender Awareness Week is Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), an annual observance on November 20 that honours the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. 

As a Black transman, who has been transitioning for 7 years, Transgender Week of Awareness is really important to me. For a long time, I didn't want to talk about my trans experience. I wanted to be stealth. A large part of that had to do with comfort in my skin and many societal, religious and cultural ideologies that were drilled into my head from childhood on.

In recent years, I have slowly become more open about my trans identity. A big part of that has to do with Trans Day of Visibility and Trans Week of Awareness. When I first started to transition, I didn't know of any out Black transmen that I could talk to in Toronto. I had no idea where to find any and no idea if there were any. The few Black transmen that I knew at that time were all located in the US. It was because of their guidance that I was able to start my transition with more knowledge than some of the doctors I encountered. Which is wild because, how often does the patient know more than the doctor?  

During my entire transition I stayed in the queer community, so in that way I was visible. People got to see every stage of my transition. I wasn't comfortable enough to make videos like some trans folks have, but I found my own level of comfort and made myself visible in what to me, seem like small ways. I didn't disappear while I transitioned and come back as my authentic self. I stayed. Even when in some spaces, some folks were vocal about their disapproval of my taking space in places they didn't feel I should. It was hard, but it gave me an opportunity to educate members of the queer community about transmen. While this was going on, I was also educating my family about the trans community and how to engage my truest self. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. Thankfully by deciding to stay visible in the community, I've taught many people how to engage with trans folks truest selves.

This is how I honor my truest self. How do you treat your truest self?

in solidarity

Samson Brown
Samson Brown


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