On the day President Trump sent out a series of tweets announcing his plans to ban trans individuals from enlisting in the military, I called out sick from work and barely left my bed. At the time, I found myself unable to explain exactly why these tweets hit me as hard as they did-- the sentiment wasn’t surprising. But with retrospect, I found that the particular phrasing he decided to use, that trans folks are “expensive” and a “burden”, pulled directly from my darkest fears about myself. To have the person who is supposedly calling the shots in this country validate the feelings that kept me up at night sent me spinning.
When I was 19 years old, I sat in the second row of a class titled “Research in Disciplines: Identity.” I signed up for the class because it was mandatory in order to graduate. I chose the topic, “Identity,” because it seemed more interesting to me than the other option, “Urban Development.”
In the months leading up to my college graduation, I felt as if I were running towards a cliff unsure of what was waiting for me after the leap. My parents and teachers assured me that it was just water, that I might have to wade for a bit before I learned to swim but that the waves would catch me. So I lept and waded and found myself a few months after graduating with a job, a new place to live, and a few friends.