When will we learn?

My mirror does not define me:
Not the stranger that looks back at me
Not the smooth face that belongs to someone else
Not the eyes that gleam with sadness
When I look for him and can only see her.
My body does not define me:
Not the slim shoulders that will not change
Not the hips that give me away
Not the chest I can’t stand to look at
When I look for him and can only see her.
My clothes do not define me:
Not the shirt and the jeans
That would look so perfect on him
But that I know would never fit me
When I look for him and can only find her.
And I’ve been looking for him for years,
But I seem to grow farther away from him
With each passing day.
He’s trapped inside this body,
Wrapped in society’s chains
That keep him from escaping.
But one day I will break those chains.
One day I will set him free.
And I’ll finally look in the mirror
And see me –
The boy I was always meant to be.

Kyler Prescott

As I scroll through my news feed today I’m horrified to find yet another trans teen suicide. My heart breaks more than I thought it could yet again. This beautiful young soul was a writer, and so I share with you his words. I have no idea what it feels like to be betrayed by my body, I was blessed to lead a cis life in a cis society. I do, however, know what it feels like to self loath, and to be bullied. I understand how cruel high school is, how tormenting words can be.

High school is a rough time for so many, but it gets better. Once you leave that bubble and go into the real world, you are almost always more accepted for who you are. It breaks my heart that Kyler will never get to be the boy, and then the man he was meant to be. It kills me that Leelah and Taylor will never grow into beautiful young women. I resent that these names are only a few of the 45% of trans youth who will attempt suicide, and the staggering 77% of trans youth who will contemplate it. (Source) This compared to the 7% of general population who have attempted and 16% who have contemplated suicide. (Source)

I’m slain by the thoughts that run through my head about what was said to them leading up to these actions that took their lives. In some cases, even their own families were not allies to them. The question that races through my thoughts again and again: When will we learn?

When will we learn that gender is a social construct, that it is a figment of our imagination. When will we accept that people should be able to live the lives they choose, rather than the lives that are bound to them by society. How many more beautiful souls will we lose? How many more poets, activists, and best friends will have to suffer at the hands of ignorance?

I cling to the hope that the trans movement is gaining notoriety. With Lavern Cox being invited to to the White House Correspondence Dinner and Bruce Jenner being interviewed by Diane Sawyer. Both dispelling myths, showing the world what it means to get to live in the skin you are meant to be in, rather than the skin that was assigned to you by society. I cling to the hope that the new sexual health education curriculum put forth by Kathleen Wynn will teach these kids that it is okay, and that they are not alone. I hope with every fibre of my being that people will begin to learn tolerance and acceptance for things that confuse them.

In the mean time, I hope and pray (which I don’t do terribly often,) that the souls of trans teens finally get given the bodies they hoped for when the reach whatever is waiting for them on the other side.


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