In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, we have a special post from our Addy Stein. Daughter to Marianne and sister to Kat, Addy is our salesperson at the Vancouver Farmer's Market and other shows. We are so excited to be donating 25% of sales between now and November 19th to the National Center for Transgender Equality in celebration of Addy.
My name is Addy, I am a transgender woman and I am proud. I live a life most likely very similar to yours - most of our week days probably even have similar schedules! I wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch netflix, and go to bed. Pretty uneventful I know, but unless you are trans, there are probably a couple differences in the things we go through throughout our days as well. When I watch the news in the morning there is a good chance I will have to see a story about a person like me (that is - a trans woman) being severely hurt or killed. When I am on my way to work, I will most likely have threats and slurs shouted at me. Throughout my day, complete strangers will ask me “what's in my pants" as if that is a normal conversation to have with someone. I will get called an it, I will be worried about being assaulted when I have to use the public restroom, I will sit down at a restaurant only to have to move because someone is staring at and harassing me. My boyfriend and I will avoid holding hands in public due to fear of being attacked. Then after all of this, at the end of the day I will finally make it back home, only to see on the news that some new court ruling or law has stripped away another piece of what little protections or rights I have.
Despite all of this, I still smile. I still laugh and dance, and I still want to live. I belong to a beautiful, vibrant, and diverse community of people - we are your neighbors, your friends, and your family. We have existed since the beginning of humanity and we will continue to exist until the end of time. We are artists and doctors, teachers and writers, carpenters and bus drivers, programmers and cooks, actors and models. We are people just trying to live happy fulfilled lives but unfortunately face many barriers throughout our journeys.
Feeling comfortable in my own skin has always been a battle for me - one of my earliest memories is looking at my reflection in the mirror and wondering why it didn’t look right. From the young age of six, I knew that there was some kind of disconnect between my mind and body. I would go to bed every night hoping with all my heart that I would wake up being who I was supposed to be: that I would wake up and be a girl. When morning came, I would feel even sadder than the one before. After awhile I told myself that it was just a phase, and if I could live around it or even mask it, I could move on with things. Instead of allowing myself to acknowledge who I really was and letting the light shine through, I tried everything in my ability to hide and even extinguish that light. At eight years old I would sneak into my moms stuff and put on makeup in the mirror just to feel what I so deeply yearned for. I would then quickly wipe it all of and tell myself it was just a fluke.
Apparently in my mind a fluke is something you do dozens and dozens of times. Patterns and habits like these continued into my teens and eventually the pressure became too much to live with. One day I realized enough was enough. I deserved happiness and respect as much as anyone else. I was a deeply sad and unhappy child. My childhood was not difficult because I was transgender or because I didn't have a loving family. It was difficult because I felt it was impossible to admit the truth to anyone, even myself - the world we live in taught me that being transgender was something to be ashamed of. I would give anything to go back and tell that sad little kid that everything would be alright. I want her to know that she is loved and that she is beautiful.
While I do realize that going back in time to comfort my younger self is impossible, I can still be proud of what I made it through. I can still live in self care. By loving what I have become instead of mourning what I never had, I can live. I am not ashamed of being trans, I am incredibly proud. I am proud of the strong person I was, without that strength and struggle I wouldn’t be here today. I am proud of the trans girl that wore makeup in public for the first time. I am just as proud of her as I am the Trans girl who doesn’t have the strength to do that yet.