5 Moments of Trans Joy From 2018

Increased visibility for the trans community has come with higher costs, but also some big victories. As we look back on 2018, there are moments of genuine trans joy to celebrate — from Oscar nominees to gubernatorial candidates — showing that even in troubled times, we’re laying the groundwork for a brighter future.

1. Trans Firsts

Patricio Manuel, 33, became the first out trans man to compete in a professional boxing ring in the United States, pursuing a lifelong love of a sport that almost gave him the cold shoulder when he transitioned. 2018 also gave us the first trans Miss Universe contestant, the first trans gubernatorial candidate from a major party and the first out trans director given an Oscar nomination, among many others. While trans pioneers are often frustrated with being put into the “first ___” box, it’s an important moment for their communities — and those who hope to follow in their footsteps.

2. Legal Wins

After the wave of bathroom bills that swept the U.S. in recent years, as well as the GOP push on “right to discriminate” laws, it’s definitely worth taking a minute to celebrate legal battles won — including banning conversion therapy, anti-discrimination protections in places like Massachusetts and New Hampshire, wins for trans students and more.

Increased visibility is also making officials think about making it easier to update birth certificates and making forms gender-neutral. Many of these fights were led by groups like Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the National Center for Trans Equality, highlighting how important it is to support civil rights organizations with donations of money, time or skills.

3. Electoral Victories

A record number of trans candidates appeared all over the ballot in 2018 — including in school board races, state houses and more. Political scientist Logan S. Casey has been tracking trans candidates, and identified nine winners in 2018. Trans people have a real stake in their communities as policymakers, and successful elections suggest that their communities are ready for trans people in office. And most of them are settling into office well, focusing on issues that matter to their constituents — like public transit and school quality.

4. Pop Culture Highs

Daniela Vega became the first trans presenter at the Oscars, while Scarlet Johansson withdrew from a trans role in “Rub and Tug,” a biopic about the life of Dante “Tex” Gill. The trans community has had a long and bitter fight over cis actors in trans roles — including Jeffrey Tambor as Maura in “Transparent” and Eddie Redmayne in the titular “Danish Girl” – so this was a big moment.

“Pose” was also celebrated by the trans community for its authentic and lively depictions of trans and gender nonconforming people, directed by members of that community.

5. #WontBeErased

When the Trump administration threatened to effectively regulate trans people out of existence, it wasn’t a very joyful moment. Understandably, many trans people were extremely afraid for their futures, as this policy move could threaten decades of advocacy work on civil rights, health care and a range of other subjects.

The community still has a lot to worry about in the Trump era, but the #WontBeErased campaign showed that they don’t need to worry alone or in silence.

Trans people turned out in force to defiantly celebrate their identities and culture, and cis people who want to work in solidarity with them amplified their voices. In the process, the administration learned a valuable lesson about the vulnerable communities it is trying to suppress: They have friends and community ties that run extremely deeply — and they will not disappear without a fight.

Photo credit: FG Trade/Getty Images

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Mia P4 months ago

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Daniel N
Past Member 5 months ago

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William T5 months ago

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Thomas M5 months ago

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Dr. Jan Hill5 months ago

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Hannah A5 months ago

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Mia B
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Anna R5 months ago

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