Raskin became Renee in 1975 and eventually decided to play professionally as a woman, which she did with a good deal of success between 1977 and 1981 (by which time she was 47). Richards faced a storm of controversy, befuddlement and derision for who she was.
One of the main problems is that many of us don't live around trans people. Growing up, I never had trans people visiting my house. My family doesn't even know any trans people. This invisibility, propagated by the willing and unwitting actions of governments, media and authority figures, perpetuates the isolation of the trans community from mainstream culture.
"'Geni: A photo shoot with transitioned bodies' wishes to present to a transphobic society, the violent producer of invisibility
As a suicide-prevention organization, The Trevor Project knows how important it is for young people to feel accepted for who they are and know that someone out there cares about their future. That's why we're standing alongside national organizations, colleges, and communities nationwide to help raise the visibility of trans* people and the unique issues they face.
#WhatTransLooksLike pic.twitter.com/w94v8iBSqa — Rachel Burrous (@AshleyAmberWild) August 31, 2014 #WhatTransLooksLike pic.twitter.com
I told the students I have been with my partner Janis for 13 years, and that we have three young children. I never mentioned my transition or used the words "lesbian" or "transgender." I just let them draw their own conclusions. Then I asked if I might do an audience participation exercise.
Visibility is what the trans* community needs. It's a factor that is so paramount in our struggle for acceptance and our rights. Despite the rich history of PrideFest in Tower Grove Park, it's time that the trans* community take back to the streets and venues as we did in the past.
Today is not only Easter for those of faith but also Transgender Day of Visibility, a day of positive reflection for the trans community. But many trans people prefer to remain in the shadows, and Arizona's "bathroom bill" will not not do anything to help them feel more welcomed in society.
The co-directors of WSU's 11th annual production of The Vagina Monologues have included two original pieces: the story of a "genderqueer" person who struggles with their relationship with their vagina, and the story of a non-op trans* woman who wishes she had a vagina but cannot.
Just as telling my co-workers that I am transgender was necessary to making progress in my transition, opening better dialogue with would-be allies is necessary to making progress on transgender issues. Bridging the gap requires both sides to adjust how they do things.