TDOV 2016: Chronically Invisible

This past Thursday was Trans Day of Visibility 2016 and this years theme was #morethanvisiblity. While I agree that visibility is not enough, and hasn’t stopped the murders of Trans Woman of Color, or bills like HB2 in North Carolina, as a trans disabled person I still often feel invisible.

When I look to the media to find people like me, I see nothing. When I see trans men, they are always white and buff and passing. They are the “opposite” of disabled, putting emphasis on their abledness and their ability to perform their bodies. These men are the ones that get recognition from our communities, who are honored with awards and accolades for their work. However, these white abled wealthy men have usually co-opted their work from more marginalized groups. Trans men of color are pushed out of the way, homeless and poor trans men never get their say, non-binary, non passing trans men are seen as not enough, and disabled trans men are not legible because they are not masculine enough.

As a trans person, I am already illegible to the state because I cannot perform gender in the way that is assigned to my birth certificate. As a disabled person, I am stripped even further because I cannot contribute the same type of labor. In my own trans community, I am seen as not enough, and truthfully I am not even seen.

As much as the cis structure of this world needs to improve so does our own community. I want to see pictures of people like me circulating the internet. I want to see people like me speaking at conferences and on TV, and I want to see people like me getting the recognition we deserve. We are here, we are queer, we are trans, we are disabled, and we exist.

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