In recent months, I have had the opportunity to see two television programs about the trans community. One of them, Casa Susanna, was a PBS documentary about a cross-dressers’ (that’s the term the participants used, as the word “transgender” had yet to be coined) retreat in the Catskills of New York in the late ’50s-early ’60s, and the other was ABC’s The Freedom to Exist about being transgender in America today in the face of the many anti-trans laws being passed, including some right here in North Carolina.
I have heard my friends talk about the old Southern Comfort Conference, an annual trans gathering in Atlanta, and I have had an opportunity to spend time at a regular get-together with younger trans women here in Asheville.
The common thread in all of it was how happy we are when we are free to simply live our lives and not be constantly under attack from right-wing politicians and so-called Christians. It becomes clear to me that these attacks happen because the attackers don’t want us to be happy.
Is it just because we’re different, or is it because they are not happy and, as such, don’t want to see anyone else’s happiness? They will not be satisfied unless they erase us. Well, it ain’t gonna happen. We’ve been around forever and aren’t going anywhere.
— Penelope Boulder Stephens