Danielle Bergan

The dictionary definition of my title words:

Transparent- adjective

  • allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen
  • Easy to perceive or detect.
  • having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived

Transphobic- Noun

  • Unreasoninghostility, aversion, , toward transgender people.

These are two seemingly different words beginning with the same 5 letters. Yet, use them in the same sentence and you’ll see a complementary use.

Heard this lately? “The transphobic politician ranted unceasingly about Emily and he was completely transparent about his fear and prejudice.”

Let me say that as a transgender woman many of us in our community are completely transparent about the changes that occurred in our lives which allowed us to become the true selves that we are today.

Do you know how much courage it takes to admit it, one, to yourself, then two, to family, friends and then the world around you? Believe me; for years never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could be living the life that I have right now.

For years Trans folk have struggled with our identities, right down to the depth of our souls. Many of us were constrained by religion. This deep belief ingrained in us by our parents and generations before us, would not allow for such a person to exist back in the 50s and 60s. Yet, those of us who dared to be us, broke these bonds of perceived heresy, uncuffed our dreams and became liberated free thinking, free living men and women.

This was no easy deal either. Family relationships were pushed to the limit. While we had struggled with our dilemma in silence those closest to us had no idea of who we were. Acceptance of change takes time; days, weeks, months and sometimes years. I found that patience became my gateway to dealing with those who I knew and loved for years. While I wanted everyone to be as joyful as I was about being me at the start of my transition, it was a long road to haul and one still, almost 10 years later, dotted with many potholes.

Gratitude is my closest ally. It gives me reassurance daily that me being a clean and sober nicotine free woman is the greatest gift I have ever received. This is a gift that was forged by the transition of denial and fear into a clear minded, self loving woman. And the perceived male that was left behind was grateful that he no longer had to carry the burden self hatred and pain. He could simply now be. I thank God for this miracle.

Now this transparency of my life has been revealed in personal and professional ways. I wrote a book. My story (like many who are Trans) is a cornucopia of hardships. I am lucky that suicide did not capture my soul because many of us die in the face of transphobia. Confronted with a multitude of peers and family denial of who we really are even takes the strongest of us out.

Today, a transphobic Tsunami, deadly to those like me in its wake, has arisen. Religious conservatives, ignorant of anyone that is different, conjure up unrealistic fears, spewing hatred like a broken water hose, dousing normal perceptions and twisting truths into hatred. These ideas are then fed to the general populace as veiled truths about our community.

These are the people that we Trans folk face on a daily basis. Our community battles daily injustices at the local school district protecting our young, or in the Solid South through Jim Crow bathroom laws. We suffer with those in the medical community, doctors and nurses who are ill equipped to treat us. Even our existence is constantly questions in the eyes of many religions, including Catholicism, where I was raised. And yet, we move forward!

I personally will not succumb to these stumbling blocks of transphobic hatred. Myself and my community are strong with love from our families, friends and allies who now stand with us through their acceptance and love of us simply as human beings. This spiritual and invisible bond is transparent to us on a daily basis. We do not shirk or cower to transphobia, but instead we take up the weapons that work to educate those who may fear us. It is the power of knowledge and love that quells and triumphs fear. It is this loving of one another where the real power lies. The Transphobics do not know how to handle this pure truth. They try to bury it under more lies but in the end love is the power that heals.

I love the woman that I am! While it took years of pain, self hatred and denial in the shell of a perceived male to get to where I am today, I embrace the hope for the future. This is so much more important than the past.

This abundance is bigger than me, my community and our allies and in its wake our love will crush transphobic hatred into tiny crumbs and scatter them in the wind of our resilience.

The NCAA has pulled seven championship events from North Carolina, including opening-weekend men’s basketball tournament games, for the coming year because of a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people.

In a news release Monday, the NCAA said the decision by its board of governors came “because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.” 

“This decision is consistent with the NCAA’s long-standing core values of inclusion, student-athlete well-being and creating a culture of fairness,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, the chair of the board of governors.

The law — known as HB2 — requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide anti-discrimination protections. 

The men’s basketball first- and second-round games were scheduled for March 17 and 19 in Greensboro. The NCAA will also relocate: 

  • the Division I women’s soccer championship scheduled for Dec. 2 and 4 in Cary, just outside the capital city of Raleigh; 
  • the Division III men’s and women’s soccer championships set for Dec. 2 and 3 in Greensboro; 
  • the Division I women’s golf regional championships set for May 8-10 in Greenville; 
  • the Division III men’s and women’s tennis championships set for May 22-27 in Cary; 
  • the Division I women’s lacrosse championship set for May 26 and 28 in Cary;
  • the Division II baseball championship from May 27 to June 3 in Cary.

Transgender kids will have a place to go for medical care when a new clinic opens at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Doctors trained in transgender care will provide services to transgender kids entering puberty at the new Gender Clinic.

Clinical director Doctor David Breeland tells KING-TV offering services through pediatric care allows patients to start treatment early.

“It just halts the puberty. Halts a lot of the dysphoria that could lead to depression and anxiety and allow them to continue in therapy and continue to shape where they want to go,” says Breeland.

The new clinic will open sometime in October.

It will be one of just a handful across the country.

The comic book world is about to get its first transgender leading character. The central protagonist in the upcoming superhero series "Alters" is Chalice, a trans "hero for the new age."

"The 'Alters' series focuses on characters that have different forms of disadvantage, whether they are marginalized by society or struggling with their gender identity," said Paul Jenkins, the comic book's author.

By making Chalice the central character, Jenkins said he wants the audience to experience power with a purpose and wants her "persona to represent something meaningful."

"Her transition is a driving factor of the story," said Jenkins. "[And she] helps other people when she makes a second transition into an Alter and does that through the lens of compassion."

Chalice is one of many "Alters" readers will encounter in the new series. These powerful "mutants" are "emerging all around the country," according to the series' website, but these superheroes are "met with fear, distrust, and prejudice."

Other characters Jenkins plans to include in the series, which will debut in September, include a homeless woman who balances feeding her family with saving her community and a man suffering from PTSD but is still committed to helping others.

Jenkins said his personal experiences ignited his interest in sharing stories about characters who are marginalized. Raised by a bisexual mother, Jenkins recalled how difficult it was for her to come out . He also said the pain he endured after fracturing his neck inspired him to include a quadriplegic character in the upcoming comic book series.

"I just want to share my compassion for people who are struggling in any kind of way," he added.

Nick Adams, director of GLAAD's Transgender Media Program, applauded the decision of the "Alters" team to include a trans woman as the comic's central character.

"While transgender characters remain rare on TV and are non-existent in mainstream films, comic books have been giving readers interesting, multidimensional trans characters for quite a while," he said. "I look forward to reading 'Alters' and seeing a trans woman as a true superhero."

Thirty percent of transgender youth report a history of at least one suicide attempt, and nearly 42 percent report a history of self-injury, such as cutting, a new study from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center shows.

The Cincinnati Children's researchers also discovered a higher frequency of suicide attempts among transgender youth who are dissatisfied with their weight.

“Our study provides further evidence for the at-risk nature of transgender youth and emphasizes that mental health providers and physicians working with this population need to be aware of these challenges,” says Claire Peterson, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s and lead author of the study.

“Dissatisfaction with one’s appearance and the drive to look different from one’s sex assigned at birth is central to gender dysphoria – the feeling that your gender identity is different from that at birth," Peterson said in a news release.

More patients transitioning from female to male reported a history of suicide attempts and self-injury than those transitioning from male to female.

The study is published in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, the journal of the American Association of Suicidology.

The researchers analyzed data from the medical records of 96 transgender patients, ages 12 to 22, with gender dysphoria visiting the transgender Health Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s.  The clinic has served nearly 500 patients since it opened in 2013.

Fifty-eight percent had at least one additional psychiatric diagnosis in addition to gender dysphoria. Nearly 63 percent indicated a history of bullying, 23 percent a history of school suspension or expulsion, 19 percent involvement in physical fights and 17 percent repeating a grade in school.

The Cincinnati Children’s researchers believe additional studies will shed more light on the relations among weight concerns, eating disorders, self-injury and suicidal behaviors.

Cincinnati Children’s started its transgender health clinic to provide an accepting atmosphere and services for patients up to 24 years of age.

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