“We few, we happy few, we tribe of trans . . “
. . From this site to the ends of the world,
But we on it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we tribe of trans;
For she/he/they to-day that shares their story with another
Shall be their friend; be they ne’er so wondrous,
This site shall exalt their condition
We Happy Trans was created so that trans people could share stories of positive experiences, so the wider world could see that like any other community, we too thrive, struggle, and overcome; to give further evidence that we too have writers magically shaping words to reflect and elevate shared human experience, and eloquent speakers calling to the better angels of our nature; that we too have bold, visible heroes, as well as quiet warriors or ordinary life; that we laugh, cry, gossip and occasionally engage in petty squabbles; that we are Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, pagans, Buddhists, Hindus, Theosophists, magical panty wearing Mormons, and seekers; we read Shakespeare and watch reality t.v.; occupy queer neighborhoods, small towns, dance halls, local pubs, schools, offices, theaters, prisons, NPOs, nursing homes, hunting parties and coffee klatches in every conceivable place on earth, and possibly beyond; that we are parents, friends, children, second-cousins once-removed, neighbors, strangers, lovers and mortal enemies; that we too are every possible variation of X-sexual; are freaks, utter bores, hysterically funny, plain odd, droll, absurdist and everything between; that we contain multitudes.
We are you. We are here, now.
Practically, the intention of this site is to provide a platform for trans people to share positive stories. To that end, we proposed a set of seven questions for trans people to reply to, the responses of which are collated here. Jen and Noah also blog here, and will soon have additional contributors to cover media, news and legal issues.
For a little more about Jen’s personal story and reasons for launching We Happy Trans, please read the Pre(r)amble below.
Hello beautiful people! I’m Jen, and I’m here to introduce you to We Happy Trans, a new web and video series that will provide space for sharing positive trans experiences.
There are a few matters I’d like to address from the outset so that both my intentions and your expectations are, relatively, clear. This show is meant to shine a light on positive trans experiences, and that’s for a few very personal reasons, mainly, that my transition has largely been met with acceptance and support. I’m so much happier since beginning that my only real regret is not having started sooner. And one of the reasons I didn’t start sooner was that I didn’t see myself in the trans narratives I had encountered, most of which were usually sensationalized, often absolute and, unfortunately, tragic.
The trans people I first read about knew from the youngest ages that they were in the wrong body. They were often significantly dysphoric, depressed, and closeted, saw their trans status as an untenable psychiatric condition and accepted diagnoses of mental illness, or at least had to pretend that was the case in order to obtain basic medical support. And their need to transition was typically met with scorn, derision, judgment and abandonment. They lost their families, their friends and their jobs. Given the path they faced, there was a sense in the rhetoric I first found that transition was only an option for those who had no choice. For many, the decision was, literally, between transition or suicide. I know many with this story. I’ve met then online and in person. These stories keep my heart cracked open, evoke profound compassion for those people faced with such resistance, and provoke rage at a system that punishes people for being true to themselves.
However, this hasn’t been my story. And because it wasn’t, I assumed transition was’t an option for me.
I didn’t know from birth. Hell, I’m still not entirely sure what the hell I’m doing. I’ve never been particularly depressed and I never hated my body. Each little step I’ve taken towards transition has, generally, brought me greater comfort and joy, both personally and socially. Before I began, I told my work what I might do, and I received their full support. I’ve met a lot of other trans people in comparable situations, or who at least have found happiness after overcoming initial obstacles.
Now, I am well-educated, middle-class, mid-career and white in a queer-friendly neighborhood in a major, progressive city. I work in the arts and am surrounded by intellectuals and artists for whom gender is a realm of active inquiry, play and creative expression. Basically, I couldn’t dream a situation more conducive to transition.
And given this extraordinarily privileged position, I feel a moral responsibility to be an open and active member of the wider community, and do whatever I can to help make the world even slightly better for those coming after me. My small gesture, the one most consistent with my experience, and who am I beyond all considerations of gender, is to talk and laugh, to share my joy and gratitude, and the positive stories of others.
I don’t want to gloss over all the obstacles trans people face, the persistent misunderstanding, discrimination and even violence that is an everyday reality for far too many, particularly those of color, who are economically disadvantaged, or live in hostile communities. I don’t want anyone on this to pretend that they haven’t suffered, and I don’t want to hide the difficulties that I too continue to face. I just want there to also be a space, this one, to show that embracing the full truth of yourself can sometimes be met with profound love.
And the fact is, times have changed, dramatically. Trans people are increasingly finding acceptance, many are able to maintain important relationships and build careers, and even the medical community is slowly shifting their attitude. I face an entirely different situation, today, because of the suffering and struggles of all those that came before me, and I am overwhelming grateful for that fact. But we’re not going to move forward until the rest of the world also sees us as active, adjusted, successful participants in our communities. I don’t want to wait to see happy trans lives depicted in the media, so I’m doing it myself. That’s what this series intends.
To that end, I’d like to begin with a set of seven questions which I’m encouraging all of you out there to answer and share your responses via YouTube or blogs, which I’ll collate and cross-post on the We Happy Trans website. I can’t wait to meet you.
Until then, mad love to you all. xx
Do you consider yourself a happy trans? If so, please consider becoming a contributor to this site. We’re particularly eager to include a diverse range of voices.
More about Noah Alvarez
Noah Alvarez is a 20-something resident of Los Angeles, California who has a passion for writing, speaking, and mentoring on all things trans*. Noah’s love for people and passion for healthy, whole living has influenced his mission of fresh outreach within the trans* community and in his every day life. Along with being a dedicated partner to his wife, Ryder and a loving companion to their dog Shaka, Noah is dedicated to bringing light and exposure to successful, positive LGBT* individuals who are building their empires and changing the way society relates to, and interacts with transgender people. Noah is a dynamic empowerment speaker and youth life coach who helps individuals reach and maintain a 100% life.
More about Avory Faucette
Avory Faucette is a trans queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law, and is an award-winning international social justice legal activist. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, marginalized identities under the queer umbrella, and the intersections between identity and law/policy. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Hir work can be found at Radically Queer and Queer Feminism, as well as in published works such as the Journal for Gender, Race, and Justice and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: International Law, Local Responses. To contact Avory, please visit AvoryFaucette.com.
More about Precious Davis
Precious Davis is The Youth Outreach Coordinator at Center on Halsted (the largest LGBTQ social service agency in the Midwest) in Chicago,Illinois. She daily coordinates The Youth Empowerment Project as well as the OVAH! Program. (Our Voices Advocating Health) Precious is a native Nebraskan whose calling to the Windy City came from her passion work in theatre and nonprofit work. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Musical Theatre and Education, Precious is glad to be involved in Chicago’s rich and thriving liberal arts scene. As an artistic associate with About Face Theatre and a facilitator with the National Conference for Community and Justice STL’s Anytown program Precious stays busy engaging LGBT youth in conversations surrounding bias, bigotry and prejudice in their communities. Precious’s passions are photography, queer performance, spirituality and transgender issues. Precious is honored to be the first transgender woman of color on staff at Center on Halsted in Chicago.
More about Jen Richards
Jen Richards lives in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and is quite happily in an asymptotic relationship to radical authenticity and in a permanent state of aporia. Jen is unabashedly proud to be a graduate of Shimer College, longtime member of the Theosophical Society in America, and an Outward Bound alum, has published articles, led workshops and presented talks on a variety of topics across the country, and relishes her work in the arts as the Managing Director of eighth blackbird and President of New Music Chicago. She humbly requests your latitude as she figures out what the hell she is doing, and remains genuinely open to feedback. She earnestly loves truth, beauty and goodness. She also loves you, madly. Yes, you. More: http://about.me/JenRichards
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