To my understanding, transitioning — for most trans and nonbinary folx — is an ongoing discovery and rediscovery of oneself. This is something we all experience regardless of our respective gender affiliation, but for trans and nonbinary human beings, this blooming is not only ultra-heightened, but embodied, meaning one's truest essence — the lifelong weaving of the tapestry of selfhood — is now hyper-visible in ways that make almost every Tom, Dickhead and Dahabo creep-creep-creep out of every corner to try and claim sovereignty over a complete stranger's sanctity. The unfairness of what trans and nonbinary folx endure on a moment-by-moment basis means that this purity of intentionality, this inalienable right to one's own personhood, which is already painful and lonesome and resource-depleting as it is, comes front-loaded with persecution from family members, partners, colleagues, health officials, and, yes, total strangers online and irl, who feel that the trans/ non-binary person's self-affirmation is in some ill-defined way a threat to their own existence, which is the way oppression has always operated.
May we always move from a positionality of purposive empathy. May we continue planting new realities seeded with care. May we always remember that compassion is not a radical act, but the most rudimentary component for co-existing synergistically on this small, blue marble.
AARON PHILIP is photographed by MATTHEW TAMARRO.
Song of the moment: 'I Am Her' by SHEA DIAMOND.