Today I was working at an event to benefit the local transgender community – a community that intersects with all the other letters of the awkward initialism by which we identify ourselves. We had received a substantial in-kind donation from a person whose transgender child had passed on.
When I heard the news, I felt it in my gut. The person who told me this saw my face, and clarified that it was natural causes.
“Wow,” I responded. “That’s unusual.” And then it struck me. It is unusual, in our communities, for natural causes to be the stated reason for our deaths. This is not the case in the cisgender heterosexual mainstream world.
So I told another person, also Queer, about the donation and the circumstances. They got That Look, you know the one. So I gave them the rest of the story, and they said. “Huh.”
Huh. Wow. That’s different.
This cannot be allowed to continue. It can not be acceptable for any part of our community – a part that intersects all other parts so intimately – to have natural causes of death not even be on the radar as a first or second possibility.
People ask what it is we want. What’s the point of Pride, or of being out of the closet, they ask. And there are a million answers to those kinds of questions.
But the right to have the ends of our lives be easily and naturally assumed to be something other than a word ending in –cide, it seems to me, is a pretty basic and important right.