Another dead transperson. There will posts about misgendering the victim, how brutally they died, the memorial for them. We’ll use #blacktranslives matter and #translivesmatter and then get into arguments over appropriation and racism because we use the wrong hashtag. Someone will be arrested, maybe. And a body will be laid to rest, possibly in their chosen gender or violated by family members who’d rather whitewash their lives than remember who they really were.

And life will go on, until the next dead tranny shows up. And it all starts again.

For all the steps forward in LGBT rights, we see steps back. The Supreme Court recognizes marriage equality; Houston is forced to rescind the HERO ordinance.  People like Laverne Cox and Caitlin Jenner are openly transsexual and publicly lauded; fourteen people are murdered for being transgender. And if it seems like this year has been particularly brutal, it has been. We’ve already set a record for deaths and the year is not over yet.

Is it a backlash because we’re coming out and being accepted? Yes. When you have people who call us perverts and pedophiles, demand that we be arrested for daring to use the restroom, use their political power to subvert civil rights, and tell others it’s fine do to so, what should we expect? The first thing oppressors do is to turn their victims into ciphers-things, not people. It’s easier to destroy something than someone.

What can be do? Protect ourselves. Don’t be a victim. Learn how to behave in public, minimize your chances of being attacked. Demand that authorities do their jobs. When someone is rude to you, call them on it. Be polite, but firm. Teach those who will learn. Develop a thick skin. And if you are physically in danger, escape or use whatever you have to save yourself and inflict the maximum damage on your opponent.

I was fortunate to have attended the New Orleans Finishing School for Transladies. It involved years of contact with wonderful locals, indifferent people, tourists who lost their manners, and all sorts of mouth breathers and arseholes. You either developed an awareness of self and place and a toughened exterior or you went back to your closed and curled up in the fetal position. I learned from a lot of people-trans and not-how to be who I am. Going to Southern Comfort gave me the knowledge base of hundreds of others who I learned from and found my niche. Not being afraid to go out alone on the streets of Atlanta, NYC, Chicago, Dallas, etc. made me stronger and yes, a more positive person.

So, don’t live in fear-live strong.