To my wonderful readers around the world,
This Monday in the US we will be celebrating Memorial Day. It is a day of remembrance for those who gave their life in active service in our military. It is a day when we pause to honor those brave soldiers who will never return.
I know that many of you live outside the United States – from the United Kingdom to the United Arab Emirates, from Australia to Austria and from the South Korea to South Africa. I also know that many may disagree with the wars that have been waged by the United States. For a moment I ask that you set aside politics and national boundaries as you read my words – words meant to uplift and show appreciation.
I have many readers who live in the Middle East, and every few weeks I hear from someone who mentions that wearing clothes of the opposite gender is illegal, and could result in prison time or worse. They ask for my advice, and I’m at a loss – I live in a country where we enjoy freedom of expression. It may not be safe going out en femme in every neighborhood of every city, but people are free to express their gender, and to advocate for increasing their rights.
In Russia transgender people are legally unfit to drive, and even in parts of Europe the transgender laws are atrocious! Georgia requires sterilization before transgender people can be legally recognized, Armenia does not offer legal recognition. Cyprus, San Marino, Turkey and Ukraine require divorce in order to recognize your new gender.
Sacrificing for Freedom
Freedom is the ability to think your own thoughts, articulate your own truths and lead your own life. Freedom is the freedom to crossdress (or not), the freedom to advocate for transgender rights and the freedom to disagree with those who do. Often times we in the transgender community are embattled fighting for our own rights that we forget the rights that we already have.
In the United States, as well as in many countries around the world, we enjoy a level of personal freedom unheard of in the history of mankind. We can chart our own course through the journey of life, live where we want to, be who we want to without the fear that we will be put in prison or executed. This freedom has allowed us to take those first tentative steps out in the world dressed as of vision of ourselves. And this freedom has allowed many to take the final step on their gender transition by aligning their body with their soul.
I believe that there are some ideals so noble they are worth fighting for, worth dying for. Freedom is one of them. This memorial day I honor all the brave men and women in uniform who died for the noble ideal of freedom. Your sacrifice has allowed me to live my life as who I am.
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