November was transgender awareness month, and although this year has seen a very big, massive spotlight put on the trans community, it is still the letter we most often overlook, ignore and discriminate against in the LGBT acronym.
Unless you live under a f*cking rock, you’ve witnessed the arrival of Caitlyn Jenner.
Caitlyn Jenner has put trans awareness on the forefront of media and pop culture, but she hardly represents the majority of trans women in America.
After all, she's a privileged white woman who has an endless supply of money and access to surgery, doctors, medicine, care and other important necessities when making the transition.
We also can’t forget about individuals like Laverne Cox, Isis King or Alexis Arquette who have been leading the way for trans rights way long before Caitlyn had a reality show chronicling her transition.
Living here in New York City, you get an insider's look into the daily struggle of trans individuals trying to find him- or herself, and gain access to the care needed in order to change their outsides to match what they feel on the inside.
You see them every single day riding the train, at the coffee shop or sadly, the lost ones who live on the piers in Chelsea because they’ve been disowned by their family.
I have a good friend who was just turned down by his employer's insurance (he works for a major corporation) when he tried to get them to cover a hysterectomy.
Life is a daily struggle for him as he carries his life as a male, while fighting against his natural anatomy as a female.
I can take the high road and blame others for the lack of acknowledgement trans individuals get within the community, but to be honest, as a gay male, I am part of the problem.
When fighting for gay rights or speaking out against inequalities, I simply don't think enough about the trans community.
Is that ignorance on my part?
Maybe (I would like to think not).
I think it all boils down to me being wildly uniformed, which in a way is a form of ignorance because I’m an adult and I can take the time to do the proper research.
As a gay male, I can relate to the struggles of other gay men and lesbians.
However, if I'm being completely honest, I must confess that I can’t relate to all the struggles someone who is trans goes through because I don’t have those internal feelings.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a male and I feel male on the inside.
Just because I don’t directly relate to the trans struggle, doesn’t mean that I don’t deeply sympathize and stand beside them in the fight for equality.
I have a ton of respect for trans individuals.
Trans individuals are way more courageous and far more strong than I will ever stand to be.
In our society today, it takes a hell of a lot more courage to come out as trans than it does to come out as gay/lesbian.
Being trans is still seen as foreign and people simply just don’t understand it. Hell, I’m admitting now that I don’t fully understand it.
Writing this article was tough. I don’t want to come across as ignorant or intolerant to members of my own community.
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are all a part of the queer community and I will fight the good fight until the end, even if I'm not fully, viscerally aware of the issues that the trans community faces.
That is why last month, "trans awareness" month was so important to not just our community, but to the world.
Awareness breeds education, and education breeds tolerance.
So in hindsight, maybe Caitlyn Jenner is more of a role model than I so thought.
At the end of the day, she's the one who is getting a conversation started that wasn’t there before.
And that’s a powerful thing.