I didn’t want to go to the 2016 Trans March. I had come out as trans two years prior, dropped out of college, and moved back home to San Francisco. Now, I was having a hard time connecting with queer people in San Francisco and felt like I had no idea how to be a trans member of the queer community. Being trans made me feel more self-conscious than proud.
When my coworker invited me to the Trans March, I was non-committal. But, when 12 days before the Trans March, a man walked into the Pulse Nightclub and killed 50 people, I felt personally attacked. I realized that I had apparently maintained some connection to the queer community I had separated myself from. I was angry and needed to do something with that anger, so I decided to march.
I showed up for the March at Mission Dolores Park early evening, scanned through the queer bodies sprawled across the sloped grass, and found my coworker perched on a ledge looking out at the mass. I sat with him and we didn’t talk much. Mostly, we just stared ahead, taking in the scene. Someone walked by us wearing rainbow suspenders with no shirt underneath, proudly bearing top-surgery scars. I thought of my own scars, covered by a shirt one size too big. I wanted to ask this person to write a 100-point treatise for me on how, exactly, I was supposed to boldly assert queerness. Instead, I pointed out a small white dog to my coworker, dyed the purple, pink, and blue of the trans flag.
Photo from Edge Media
A disembodied voice called out over a megaphone and everyone funneled clumsily towards Dolores Street. As we walked, some people beamed, while others looked defiant and angry. Those wearing particularly innovative or gender non-conforming outfits were complemented and cheered on. But there were also a lot of people who looked like me. People of all different bodies were in jeans and t-shirts – some holding signs that say “smash the cis-tem” or “turn up for trans youth”, but most simply chatting with their friends as they slowly walked down the street.
Most of the people marching did precisely what I had done – they just showed up. I felt a sense of camaraderie with everyone marching. Even though I wasn’t thrilled to be in a mass of people, I was proud of them for being there. It didn’t matter that I was questioning where I belonged in this community. I couldn’t know what it means to be a trans member of the queer community because there is no one meaning. The diversity of the people marching around me was evidence of that.
I hadn’t figured out my place in the queer community, and I didn’t have pride for myself, but I did have pride for my queer community. I felt pride through all these people who just came and were.
Published on June 26, 2019 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization