Introducing HuffPost's "Journey Beyond the Binary" Blog Series!

With Pride celebrations well under way this June, it’s easy to get swept up rejoicing in the many milestones that the LGBTQIA community has achieved recently. But while it’s important to unite in joy throughout this month, it’s equally important to turn our collective attention towards the work left to be done.

For trans and gender non-conforming members of the community, every day in this country is a struggle -- a battle not only for equality, but for survival. 

In 2015, 21 trans women, most of whom were women of color, were killed allegedly because of their gender presentation. So far this year, we’ve lost 10 trans individuals.

This persistent threat of violence also extends to trans people who exist outside of the gender binary – meaning they don’t identify as male or female exclusively. In a study done by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), 32 percent of nearly 6,500 gender non-conforming participants reported being physically assaulted because of their gender presentation. 

It’s easy to think that these violent crimes are limited to places like North Carolina that have a well-documented history of bigotry towards trans and gender variant communities. Sadly, violence against trans individuals is widespread -- even to purportedly LGBTQIA friendly spaces.

With movies like Stonewall shamefully diminishing the invaluable work of trans activists like Marsha P. Henson and Sylvia Rivera, it's high time that queer-friendly platforms shine a light on the trans activists and thinkers fighting for visibility and civil rights.

At The Huffington Post, we wanted to create a platform where trans and gender variant people -– presenting within and outside of the gender binary –- can have their voices heard and promoted. 

This is why we are proud to present the series Beyond the Binary, an editorial effort to bring diverse trans and gender non-conforming voices to the HuffPost Blog during and after Pride month.

Participants are encouraged to write about their lived experience –-  about family, love, relationships, sex, careers -- which can include, but is not limited to, individual journeys regarding gender identity. Please email any pitches to beyondbinary@huffingtonpost.com


We need companies to come out, and rather than just getting a shiny "LGBTQ friendly" medal, to spell out how they can protect gender non-conforming and trans people and why they are willing to hire them. We need companies to take legitimate financial steps at not just selling rainbow versions of their products back to us -- but to make money and give it to us so that we can live in this society effectively.

Men in Skirts -- Pax Ahimsa Gethen

When I met my partner Ziggy, pictured at the top of this post, we were in those roles; I was living (pre-transition) as a woman, fairly ignorant about gender issues, who strongly preferred wearing pants, and he was living as a man who strongly preferred wearing skirts. I'll admit that his skirt-wearing really bothered me at first, as I was prejudiced against femme presentations. But love conquers all, as they say, and soon his clothing was no more remarkable to me than any other man's.

A photo posted by Aria Ehren (@ariaehren) on

This increased visibility has come, and continues to come at a cost. While we have visibility, we continue to face incredibly slim representation. While we have a handful of amazing transgender celebrities, these celebrities represent only certain narrow bands of trans existence and -- especially among actors -- they are not always in control over the narrative.

They wanted to scare us. They roughed us up, pushed me to the pavement. And just like that, they both left. Maybe they decided that my crying for help made us too much trouble --  I'm not sure. I watched the blood drip and pool under my face.

The way I dress has consequences. And those consequences are worth it.

Maybe after all of this I'll realize it's not even about being accepted among people or loving yourself but simply surviving. Surviving without gender, without a body, without validation, without acceptance, without understanding, maybe even without love. Survival. 

A photo posted by Marika Litz (@rika_suaves) on

Sometimes we slip up and use the wrong pronoun --  and that's ok! Messing up isn't what hurts. What hurts is the repeated misgendering and a lack of commitment. No one ever expects you to flip your vocabulary overnight.

A photo posted by Eli Erlick (@elierlick) on

Is doubling a 7-year sentence going to deter crime? Statistically, the answer is no. Hate crime laws do not look at the roots of the problem, including systemic racism and transphobia.Individualizing the problem by sending one person to prison does very little for our community as a whole and does not work within a restorative justice framework.  

I believe so strongly in intersex people determining the way we define our bodies, not medical professionals with their own interests in mind. We know our bodies best. We know we are not broken, we are beautiful. 

A photo posted by NBCLatino (@nbclatino) on

It is important to keep in mind that every transition is different and unique. Some transgender people affirm their gender through surgeries, others don’t. Some transgender people pursue a medical transition, others don’t. Why? First, not every body responds to medication the same way, just like not every cisgender woman reacts to contraception the same way. Second, people cannot just be reduced to their transgender identity

Angry black people are mobilizing. Angry black people are chewing up what's been tearing them down. Angry black people always have been and will always continue to be at the heart of the onslaughts against oppressive structures, but that doesn't mean we aren't tired. 

Journey Beyond the Binary is an effort to bring diverse trans and gender non-conforming voices to the HuffPost Blog during and after Pride month. As the LGBTQIA community celebrates great strides forward this June, it’s important to acknowledge the struggles still pertinent to trans and gender variant members of the community. Participants are encouraged to write their lived experience -- about family, love, relationships, sex, careers -- which can include, but is not limited to, individual journeys regarding gender identity.

If you'd like to contribute a text or video piece to the series, email us at beyondbinary@huffingtonpost.com!


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