This young family of four couldn’t look any more picture perfect. Patricia Perez and her three beautiful nieces are currently living “the best life they can.” However, life hasn’t always been that simple for one of the family.
For 20 years, Patricia had been living a drastically different lifestyle to the one she currently shares with her three young girls. “I continuously held myself back,” she recalled in an online post. Indeed, she said she felt trapped. “Every day kept getting harder,” she wrote. Nevertheless, things were soon about to change.
Born a male, Patricia had spent 20 years of her life hiding her true self. And the more time went on, the more she felt it was too late for her to reveal her true identity. However, after almost two decades, it all became too much and she could no longer keep her secret.
So, Patricia confided in someone close. “I came out to my best friend, and I just remember crying,” she explained to readers in her online post. Consequently, at the age of 25, she made the “best decision [she’s] ever made.”
Indeed, Patricia threw herself into becoming who she had always longed to be. Finally, she could transform herself and feel “passable”; at last, people would view her as a woman and not as a man, something she had always been desperate for.
Following her transformation, Patricia was able to adopt her three nieces and go about her business the way she had always wanted. “I never thought I could live my life,” she revealed in the post. “I continuously held myself back but I’ve learned anything is possible if you want it enough!”
However, for some people, things are not always that easy. In fact, many transgender individuals face adversity and discrimination on a daily basis. Indeed, according to figures released by the Human Rights Campaign, 2016 saw more transgender people die as a result of violence in the U.S. than in any other year to date.
Sadly, 2017 could be on course to top that. This year, at least 20 transgender people have already been killed as a result of violence in America. Additionally, the U.S. government plans to prohibit transgender people from serving in the military.
Other developments have seen a presidential memorandum issued that will hinder transgender people who are currently serving in the U.S. military. The directive will see them prevented from using any Department of Defense resources to obtain transition-related medical treatment.
It’s estimated that this will affect between 1,320 and 6,630 individuals who are already serving in the U.S. military. Furthermore, in 2016, over one million citizens in America identified as transgender.
Moreover, the number of children being referred to gender-identity clinics has quadrupled in the last five years. Clearly this kind of discrimination could affect a significant number of people. And it may well prevent others from embracing their true selves.
However, many believe that not enough is being done to report on the prejudice and brutality that the transgender community is facing. Among them are organizations such as GLAAD, formerly known as “Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.”
GLAAD aims to give the LGBTQ community a voice. It wants to hold media outlets accountable for the way they present this section of society. The organization is concerned that, at present, the violence and discrimination that LGBTQ people face is underreported. Moreover, GLAAD says this is something that urgently needs addressing.
Away from the hate and ignorance, other positive transgender stories in the vein of Patricia Perez’s tale abound. One such account came about more than 8,000 miles away in India. Not far from the country’s capital, Delhi, 16 young beauty queens recently made history.
Hoping to increase the profile of India’s transgender community, the group took part in the country’s first ever transgender beauty pageant. And there was a special prize up for grabs. The winner would be given the opportunity to represent India and compete in the International Queen pageant to be held in Thailand in 2018.
The breakthrough event follows a decision made by the country’s supreme court back in 2014. The court declared that transgender people had the legal right to identify as a third gender. But not everyone agreed.
Despite the Indian transgender community hailing this as a victory, many individuals within it continue to face discrimination. However, across the globe, it appears steps are being made towards eradicating any kind of injustice against those who identify as transgender.
For example, a school in Bristol, England, recently received an award for its efforts at promoting gender equality. The school has a gender-neutral uniform policy, offers unisex toilets for pupils and has a library that includes books celebrating LGBTQ values. And it looks like the school might have blazed a bit of a trail…
That’s because more than 100 other schools in the U.K. have also chosen to adopt a gender-neutral uniform policy in an effort to help their young pupils experience equality. Additionally, British department store John Lewis has become the first store in the U.K. to stop gender-labeling its range of children’s clothes.
Ultimately, it is vital that people such as Patricia Perez celebrate who they are. Her actions could offer hope and encouragement to others in a similar situation and help them embrace their identity. After all, anything that helps implement equality throughout society can only be a force for good.