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Dec. 31, 2015: Highlights of 2015

January 1, 2016

It’s been a hell of a year for the trans community. The conversation, which for decades has amounted to no more than guarded whispers, is now in full force. Films like “The Danish Girl” and TV shows like “Transparent” are getting rave reviews. Many publications, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Bloomberg Business, and Huffington Post, have covered trans issues and published op-ed pieces. Not all of them have been in support of the trans community. In fact, some have been down-right anti-trans. But at least people are finally acknowledging that trans people exist — and have rights.

Speaking of which, we’ve seen a slew of bills introduced in several states, many of which center around whether trans people should be banned from using public restrooms that are designated for the gender that does not match their assigned birth genders. In some cases (Florida), the bill did not get far enough to become law. Other states have passed laws against that type of discrimination.

And trans people are speaking up and speaking out — like the ones in Canada and Minnesota, who took selfies in bathrooms of the genders that match their birth genders and posted them on social media in protest of the so-called bathroom bills.

Celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner publicly transitioned. She — like Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono and others before her — have helped to personify trans people to those who don’t know anyone who’s transgender, or who deny that trans people even exist.

Sadly, even people who have loved ones who are transgender — like the parents of Leelah Alcorn, who committed suicide because they didn’t accept her as being trans — still don’t get it. But there is hope when I hear of parents who lovingly support their trans children. And the more who publicly proclaim their support, the better life will be for transgenders in the long run.

NBBJHolidayPartyWhat about Mara and me? We have continued to find support in surprising ways. On my birthday last January, I received more than 100 Facebook greetings, including this one from someone I went to high school with: “Your bravery in being who you are and not pretending to be something else has inspired so many Alemanians, and I am in awe of how utterly beautiful you are, inside and out. Happy Birthday!”

In February, we both received, and accepted, an invitation to participate in a women-only photo shoot by a photographer friend of ours. And later in the year, we were invited to two wedding showers. In fact, Mara attended her first shower and first wedding post-transition. And right around her birthday in October, she found out that her employer’s new health insurance carrier covers a big chunk of the cost of GRS. And just after Mara’s employer’s annual holiday party (these photos were taken in a portable photo booth at the party), she celebrated her third re-birthday living full-time as a woman.

I’d like to say that this is the new normal, but I believe that what we’re really seeing is that there isn’t any such thing as across-the-board normal. It’s different for everyone. Early in the year, I posted a quote from Whoopi Goldberg that says it all: “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.







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