Trans Pride

Trans folks are asking: What makes you proud to be trans?

Pride Month is just around the corner, but it’s a sentiment many queer folks take for granted. Why does feeling proud have such a prominent place in queer culture, and what exactly are we claiming to be proud of?

That question was on the mind of a trans man, who took to Reddit to ask his fellow trans folks what made them proud of their identities, particularly in a culture growing increasingly hostile to queer people.

“I’m struggling with feeling proud of being transgender, with being unaccepted and medically transitioning being practically impossible and socially transitioning extremely difficult,” he wrote. “If you are proud to be trans, why? How? What is it that makes you proud to be transgender? I’m finding it hard to not feel like, as my mom put it, a ‘freak of nature.’”

Trans folks had a range of responses. Many shared their pride in still being themselves, even in a world with so many obstacles to trans expression.

“I am proud that, in spite of all the people like your mother, I found the courage to pursue the life that I want for myself,” wrote one commenter.

“Proud to finally be myself, proud to finally stop lying to everyone I love, proud to have released this suffocating secret I’ve carried for too goddamn long, proud to choose the hard path despite knowing the obstacles and hardships ahead,” shared another.

“I’m proud to choose me,” wrote a third. “Every day I wake up and choose me. Not what my family or society wanted me to be but genuinely, authentically me. It’s a beautiful thing to seek your happiness. A year ago I absolutely hated myself. Life may not always be easy, but I’m proud to be who I am today.”

One user even thought ahead to the future, and how this period will be remembered in history books. “It’s the year 2024. Eventually, someone will talk about this time period as part of a greater conversation on LGTBQ+ rights. And I’ll have been one of the people who did not concede the discrimination,” they wrote.

Others said that being a role model to younger trans folks or those still in the closet made all the hardship worth it.

“Knowing that my existence helps others younger and more afraid than me, know that they can continue to exist, too,” one commenter wrote.

“Trans people simply existing is paving the way for future generations to have a better experience and better representation than we did,” shared another. “We are active history experiencing itself.”

Still others pointed to the inherent magic and spirituality of being trans. “I am a participant in the divine alchemy of the self,” one user wrote. “This is a sacred act.

Agreeing with that sentiment, another user shared one of their favorite quotes from trans author Daniel M. Lavery: “God blessed me by making me transsexual for the same reason God made wheat but not bread and fruit but not wine, so that humanity might share in the act of creation.”

But there was another message rippling through the comments section, too: that though pride in transness is fabulous, it’s far from a requirement for trans identity. Many said that they aren’t proud of being trans — they simply are trans, and that’s enough.

“Not sure I’d consider myself proud to be transgender, I just… am,” one user wrote. “But I do like to think that being this way and living my life with the experiences that being trans caused me to have — not just once I realized, but also before — shaped me to be a better person than I maybe would have been otherwise.”

“You don’t have to ever be loud and open and proud,” wrote another. “It’s not a requirement, it never has been. It’s enough to just… be okay with it. Learn to accept it, and love yourself, and you’ll be okay. Acceptance is a learned thing. Pride is too. You are the king of yourself, and you can decide whether you want to be on the streets marching or at home quietly writing a post to someone who needs a hand, a tiny trans sticker on your laptop.”

“You got this, man,” they concluded. “You don’t have to be proud, you just have to be okay with yourself.”

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