Transgender People Spend Their Entire Lives Educating Others About Their Identities—And That’s Exhausting
Jace Denton came out as trans after he started classes at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, a place he calls "trans-competent." "Every single class that I went to started the first day of class asking what everyone's pronouns were," he says. "It just became this very normal thing. And I felt supported enough to be able to come out." Sadly, not every environment a trans person enters into is as inclusive. And a big part of that is due to a lack of education around allyship.
"As a trans person, you spend your entire life educating people and it is so tiring," says Denton in the latest episode of The Well+Good Podcast. Last week, Denton's mom, MaryRose, shared how she learned the true meaning of unconditional love when Jace came out to her at the age of 17. This week, Denton shares how transgender allyship has impacted his life experience.
Denton says he realized he was trans at 13. Hours spent on Reddit and YouTube helped him learn the terminology—words like "transgender" and "gender non-conforming"—he would later use to describe himself. But the thought of then having to explain everything he had learned to others kept him from coming out.
"I wasn't really prepared to have to then come out to my entire high school and explain all of that terminology to my teachers and the administration and whoever else," says Denton. "I just wasn't prepared to have to educate other people on it as well."
Denton says transgender allyship is most impactful when his loved ones are actively standing up and speaking out in support trans rights.
"I feel the most loved when I see other people advocating for me, or for trans rights in general," says Denton. "Seeing my mom talk about it, or anytime that my partner posts something on Facebook, or anytime that his sister posts something on Facebook, or anytime one of my friends corrects someone on somebody's pronouns, or anytime that my coworkers advocate for something."
Allyship goes a long way. And Denton wants people to know that the little things count, too.
"I hope that trans teens can listen to [this episode] and know that there are people that feel the same way that they do and I hope that it gives to them what I didn't have in high school," says Denton. "And for parents, I hope that it educates them and takes the responsibility of that education off of their children."
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