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We trans people are the only part of the rainbow community that have to pay for the privilege of being ourselves. In addition to having to go through medical and surgical intervention, there’s also wading through the paper trail we have piled up and changing those identity documents.

I don’t want to underestimate how liberating it is for a trans person to come out to family, friends and allies. It does wonders to lift the burden of carrying that tremendous secret off our psyches so we can begin to openly and honestly live our lives.

But a dose of reality as you make this life changing decision, especially if you’re planning to do so under the euphoric environment of National Coming Out Day.

If you’re a trans person of color, it’s even tougher to come out and I understand that reticence to do so. When we average two transwomen of color killed every month, 70% of the names we read during every Transgender Day of Remembrance are Black and Latina, and we have the unwoman meme and disrespect hurled at us on a regular basis, it’s enough to make you pause.

Unlike our white counterparts, we transpeople of color don’t have the long established support groups or organizations that are fluent in our culture, backgrounds and needs.

We’ve only started getting the attention we deserved in the tail end of the last decade. The Trans Persons of Color Coalition was founded in 2010, and we still have to fight tooth and nail just to get any kind of positive visibility or media attention for our role models and our issues.

Coming out for trans people of all ethnicities is tempered with the knowledge that we still have a long way to go to achieve trans human rights in this country We still have a lot of education we have to do even with recalcitrant hardheads in our rainbow family and even within trans circles about what being trans is.

But as I’ve discovered ever since I began my own transition in 1993, my life not only began when I did so and got comfortable in my own skin, my family expanded. We have a proud history that is still unfolding every day. I have out and proud trans brothers and sisters all over the world now. I have trans elders who are eager to pass down their hard won knowledge to me so I can do the same for you. I love the fascinating journey of discovery I’ve been on.

Monica Roberts, “Coming Out Is Different For A Trans Person,” TransGriot 10/11/12
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