30

Thirty is a nice, solid number. It’s divisible by 5 and 10. It’s the sum of three squares (1,2, and 5)  and not many of us get to survive to see it. I’ve been fortunate, but I also have to remember that out of the 9 trans girls who’ve been murdered this year (and it’s not even May) 6 of them were under the age of 30

Mesha Caldwell, 41

Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28

JoJo Striker, 23

Keke Collier, 24

Chyna Gibson, 31

Ciara McElveen, 21

Jaquarrius Holland, 18

Alphonza Watson, 38

Chay Reed, 28

I’m not even including our suicide rates. This is a day for celebration, but with every celebration I find it important to remember those who can’t share this opportunity with me. Now that we remember, we can rejoice and look forward to the future the best we can. We can look forward to a future where we can help, fight, and remember and make sure more of us make it to see the age of 30.

I’ve honestly never had an issue with getting older. My 20s sucked and every year away from them is another year in the right direction. This birthday is especially big though, not because it’s a milestone year, but it is the first time that I’m able to see a birthday and live it the way I want it to. This is the first birthday I’ve had as me so in a way it’s kind of a first birthday for a lot of reasons. Today I can look back at previous years and see just how far I’ve come. Today is the first birthday that I have ever had, that I actually look forward to, well, anything. Birthdays are meant to celebrate life, and this is the first time I’m able to celebrate mine on my own terms. The sheer weight of this is extraordinary. This morning I was in my bedroom changing and I just stopped in front of the mirror and just sat, and looked at myself and I can honestly say I have never been able to look at my reflection with such love ever before. In the reflection was this girl who fought for her right to exist and keeps fighting every day. For a couple minutes I felt true love and respect for myself that I didn’t think possible. After 30 years of living a lie, 15 years of it causing anxiety, and 2 years of it eating at my fucking soul just screaming to get out, I’m finally able to be who I’ve wanted to be, and that’s the best gift of all.

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