I forgot to do a lot of things today.
I forgot to e-mail Ophelie, to let her know which dates and times I was free this week, so we could record the next episode of our podcast. I forgot about the birthday brunch that I’m due to attend on Sunday morning and that I will need to buy a birthday gift and a card for. I forgot to make sure the foreclosure date on this loan I am reviewing was pushed back, so I can make sure the home doesn’t go to sale before I have a chance to take a look at it.
One thing I didn’t forget was International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was on November 20th of this year. I remember reading this post and seeing the 10 transgender victims that were paid tribute and I knew that I had to somehow tie this into another blog post that I had yet to write.
Earlier last week, I was asked to take part in Blog Azeroth’s annual Thanksgiving event. Admittedly, I haven’t spent much time on the Blog Azeroth boards and I was kind of surprised they asked me, to be quite honest. I would have figured that someone would have clued in to the fact that I haven’t spent a lot of time there and that would have sort of disqualified me for the job. But, apparently that wasn’t the case, and I was beyond flattered that they even thought of me, much less asked me to participate in such an important way. I was chosen to be one of the judges for the event and to critique those participating on their blog posts, which they were asked to write and thank their favorite bloggers and podcasters for making an impact on them, in some way. I didn’t feel right just judging and not participating, so I knew that I had to write a post of my own. Then International Transgender Day of Remembrance happened.
I am lucky to be here. That should be me in that tribute. That very easily could be me. When I read things like that about people like myself, I realize how thankful I am to even be where I’m at today and to be alive. I’m thankful that I can be myself and that I’m surrounded by co-workers, friends, family, bloggers, podcasters, guildies, and other friends in the gaming community who love and support me. I’m thankful that I have never wavered in my desire to always want better for myself and to not settle for temporary bits of validation and acceptance wherever I can find them. I have always demanded more and better for myself and it makes me so sad to see other transgender people not do the same. We settle for sex work and we settle for deceiving people that we have sexual relations with, because it makes us feel like we are succeeding in the gender that we have chosen to live as. It makes us feel like we belong, if only for a moment and if only for the all the wrong reasons. I can say from experience that this is not the right way to go about it.
I’m thankful that I have never come out to someone that I was interested in being intimate with and had them violently shun me or berate me for being what I am. I’m thankful that I have come out in a job interview and that it didn’t change a prospective employer’s opinion of me. All of these things that we do on a daily basis, that you would think wouldn’t be obstacles to overcome I have had to overcome, and so have many others like me. I’m thankful that I made it. There are far too many people like me that don’t.
I’m thankful to everyone that I met at BlizzCon, who made me feel like the most normal person in the world for four whole days. I’m thankful for the eighty-some odd comments, most from absolute strangers that I have had no contact with, who thanked me for coming out and for being brave in doing what I did. I’m thankful to the people who have continued to read me and support me and Follow me, when they really don’t have to and yet they choose to stay on board and follow along with whatever crazy adventures I get myself into. I’m thankful for the people who act like it doesn’t matter, because it really shouldn’t. I’m a writer. I’m a priest. I’m a gamer. I also happen to be a transgender woman. I don’t have to choose. I can be all of those things. You have no idea how thankful I am to have it that way.
This post came out a lot more disjointed than I had planned, but you just can’t help but realize how thankful you are for everything you have when you see what others do not have. I saw the photographs of ten dead transgender people, whose lives were stolen from them far too soon and yet I’m here. I’m here judging a blog writing contest, that to anyone else would be pretty insignificant. I saw the faces of ten dead people who should be doing what I’m doing. They should be surrounded by all of these things and all of this love and feeling thankful for everything that they have, but they can’t do that. Everything that you take for granted suddenly seems so much bigger when you think of things like that. It’s easy to be thankful for the big things – your car, your family, your job. But, I know what it’s like to be thankful that you’re even alive and that you are able to exist in a way that you choose to and that you know you were meant to exist as. That’s something I don’t think anyone should ever forget to be thankful for. I know I sure won’t.