be not afraid, scott richard 2012
the transgender flag flew in the castro in 2012 for the first time.
very few people photographed and published any images of it.
[see below for a complete article on the flag, its meaning and its creator Monica Helms, and its creation story and adoption by the transgendered community]
these shots are among the first ones used around the world to represent the transgendered community. and i'm grateful to be a part of this spiritual and physical movement.
sadly, these images have also been misused, stolen, misappropriated, attributed to the pakistan liberation army or some such as a means of suppressing the truth and punishing islamic people and christians, etc. as a hateful joke.
but here's my truth about it all -- if you go boldly and bravely into the darkness of the unknown, but you go in the company of brave and triumphant people, you can create enough light to find your way back.
so if a person is gender-confused or gender-certain, help them find themselves. be curious. listen. learn something about someone else.
it's okay if they make mistakes or have breakthroughs you can't possibly understand. they are experiencing a type of confusion/certainty that very few suffer at this same level.
all of us have internal suffering.
this world is empty of the kind of satisfaction that humans ultimately crave -- we are in love with the idea of stopping time, pausing it, peering at it like it was a non-moving thing.
but it isn't.
and transgender issues are also moving forward very fast.
these are the hardest things to do.
why is the thought of a person surgically and physically transitioning between sexes such a big deal?
and forcing transgendered people to use the bathrooms of their "born" identity is insane.
further, using RAPE-FEAR as a justification for why people don't want transgendered people using their new sex identity for choosing bathrooms, is seriously RUDE.
rape is fundamentally an anti-transgendered concept!
being trapped in your own body and then being verbally and mentally and sometimes physically assaulted by others is no easy life. but remember this, all the outside punishment is NOTHING compared to the internal punishment that comes from feeling out of sorts in your "own" body.
as a gay man, i feel like my own struggles were so much easier. i was and am able to "fit in" to this society. sure, i'm outspoken about it and i fight back, but i still fit in.
and i can tell you this, when you say you're gay or trans, people start picturing you having sex. they can be ruthless about it. does this happen when a man or a woman say they're married?
do we immediately picture the woman on her back with her ass up in the air begging to be pounded from behind? do we imagine the man naked and heaving with his face buried in her under parts?
but that's what an awful lot of people do to members of the LGBT community.
they sexualize our entire lives and play it out like a movie in their minds. we become these creatures that live for sex and supposedly have it all the time. we are mythical in their minds.
put that out of your mind now and try replacing it with something less salacious, something less exciting and sensationalized, something much more human, much more lonely and sad and deeply hurt by our hideous and constant judgments and reiterations of what we think is "normal".
imagine how it would feel to only fit in inside a tiny place in your mind where you can see and be yourself. now imagine that this became your primary focus in life and your goal was to be normalized and to love and to fit in and be loved.
and remember, when someone is confused, your words of hatred and unkindness will be multiplied by the anxiety and frustration and past transgressions that a person has suffered. you will be ADDING to the legacy of hate that life has created against the person in question.
but they don't deserve the amplification. so be gentle, be kind.
and lastly, there are so few of these rare and beautiful human creatures that there is no reason to develop a hostility against someone you will probably never meet. and don't ruin it for the rest of us who are waiting with great hope that the discoveries these individuals make will open a door to a whole new world of opportunity and enhancement.
as always, my photos are available under the creative commons as public but NO DERIVS.
for general info on the origin of the flag, read this:
CREATOR SURPRISED AT POPULARITY OF TRANS PRIDE FLAG
June 27, 2015· by Elliot Owen· in News, Profiles, Queer Stories.·
Monica Helms stands in front of the transgender pride flag, which she created. (Photo: Courtesy Monica Helms)
Monica Helms stands in front of the transgender pride flag, her own creation. (Photo: Courtesy Monica Helms)
By Elliot Owen
Bay Area Reporter
Behind every revolutionary symbol is a creator. Nearly 16 years ago, Monica Helms, a transgender woman, conceptualized the transgender pride flag which is now an established mainstay in today’s Pride events throughout the world.
This year, the San Francisco Pride board of directors selected Helms, 64, as the recipient of the Heritage of Pride, Pride Creativity Award to honor her contribution to the transgender and greater LGBT community.
“I’m just thrilled,” Helms told the Bay Area Reporter. “I would never have expected this. I wanted to come to San Francisco Pride one day just to say I went. And then being told about this award – I’m humbled.”
The idea for a transgender pride flag emerged in conversation between Helms and the creator of the bisexual pride flag, Michael Page, in 1999.
“Then one day,” Helms said, “I woke up with the image in my head. I drew it, came up with the colors, and it worked. No matter how you fly it, it’s always correct, which signifies finding correctness in our own lives.”
The flag’s blue stripes represent the traditional color for baby boys, the pink stripes for baby girls. The center white stripe represents intersex, transitioning, and genderqueer people.
“It’s important to note that the flag only represented how I felt about being trans,” Helms said. “But I told myself that if other people wanted to use it too, they could. And apparently, they did.”
The flag made its first public appearance a month later in the LGBT publication Echo magazine. Helms, who is also a Navy veteran, marched with the flag at its first LGBT event in the Color Guard contingent of a 2000 pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, her hometown. Since then, it’s been carried at countless events.
“I’ve seen it in so many places,” Helms said, “even carried to the tallest mountain in Europe. Next I’m hoping that the first trans person to go to space holds it up at the International Space Station.”
Last year, Helms donated the original transgender pride flag to the Smithsonian. Slated for display later this year, the flag exhibit will also showcase items from Helms’ Navy career, activist history, and personal life.
Helms was stationed in Vallejo twice over her eight-year military service. It was during that time she began to express her identity, albeit quietly.
“The first time I went out in public as Monica was in 1976,” Helms said. “I went to a motel, got dressed, and drove from Vallejo to San Francisco. I knew no one could find out. At the time, I thought I just liked dressing as a woman and didn’t put a label on it until later. That first label wasn’t even correct.”
After being honorably discharged two years later, Helms relocated back to Arizona. Identifying as a “heterosexual crossdresser,” she married “the one,” had two children, and began working at Sprint. In 1997, she decided to “live full-time as Monica.”
“That realization happened in San Francisco,” Helms said. “I was dressed as Monica for the weekend and my friend started telling me her reasons for transitioning. Then, all the puzzle pieces came together. I needed to do that, too. My trans history has a lot of roots in San Francisco.”
She said that her two sons and three grandchildren are “very supportive” of her.
Staying employed with Sprint, Helms moved to Atlanta in 2000. Three years later, she co-founded the Transgender American Veterans Association where she was president until 2013.
In January, Helms retired from Sprint. Still residing in Atlanta, she lives with her partner of five and a half years, Darlene Wagner, who is also a trans woman."