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Trans and suicide

July 8, 2012

I returned home tonight after a weekend away to find a number of friends posting notices to their Facebook walls about the suicide of a local trans man. I didn’t know him myself, but many people I know did. They worked with him, and were friends with him. The pain and devastation of their loss is rippling through the city right now, and my heart is breaking for them, and for him.

That is not my story to tell, though. I didn’t lose a friend, a coworker, or a mentor. Still, it resonates deeply: Whenever I hear of another trans person committing suicide I feel the wind knocked out of me, like a punch to the solar plexus. It doesn’t matter if I knew them or had any connection to their lives, it still evokes in me such a deep, painful empathy, and such a tragic understanding that I feel sick. I imagine I have such a visceral response because, truthfully, I have many times thought of ending my life. I was perhaps eight or nine years old when I first gave it serious consideration, and it has been with me throughout my adult life. I would imagine most of us who carry the cultural weight of ‘trans’ have at some point thought about it; I would imagine a good many of us have considered it in some degree of detail.

It is a tragic camaraderie, this relationship with the destruction of ourselves and others like us. It makes me sad, and angry, and so contemptuous of cultures which coerce beautiful people to end themselves. I want to scream and demand something, I don’t even know what, but it all feels like swords against an ocean. I usually don’t like big emotional gestures, but nonetheless: Trans people, we need each other. This world crushes us sometimes, but sharing that experience eases off the pressure some. We can afford at least that for one another. Cis people, we need you. We’re small, we don’t have the numbers to make this world a place we can exist in, let alone thrive in. We need you to help make this a better place for us, so then maybe we won’t lose so many.

To those of you who I knew and are gone, I miss you.
To those of you who I didn’t know and are gone, I am sorry I can never get to know you.
To those of us who are still here, let’s do what we can to make this an easier place to stay.

Much love to you, Kyle.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2012 12:56 am

    Thank you.

  2. July 9, 2012 9:55 am

    I wish I knew him, and now I never will.

  3. July 9, 2012 10:30 am

    I feel really lucky that suicide was never something that even came up for me. My heart breaks for how common it is amongst our peers, and how many succumb to it. You’re right, we need cis people to take up the cause; we also need to be better sources of support for each other. The in-fighting really has to stop.

  4. July 10, 2012 11:13 am

    “I imagine I have such a visceral response because, truthfully, I have many times thought of ending my life.” gpoy.

  5. July 14, 2012 7:02 pm

    Kyle was a good man. I miss him. R.I.P

  6. John permalink
    August 15, 2012 4:16 pm

    I just read this and I thought of my dearest friend who also committed suicide. He was gay and an FTM. He was extremely intelligent and tried to organise other FTMs iinto a self-reliant community because he himself couldn’t find work, had no money, became disabled after an anti-trans hate crime and his family disowned him (wealthy family too! He was kicked out of the will!). It made sense to him that transpeople needed their own resources. Needed to be self-sufficient and creative.
    He couldn’t make a go of it, because alot of people were all talk no action. When you need medical care, money, food, and better housing and you are doing everything you know to do to help yourself it’s demoralising to not see it come to fruition.
    We even worked on the same job. That’s how we met. He was a staemroller! When that guy went to work, he worked! No gossiping, no smoking out side the building, no fooling around and goofing off. And he ALWAYS came to work on time!
    But what did people care about? He ‘looks funny’…’there’s something about the way he looks I don’t like’…’that ain’t no real man, is it?’ Most of these morons would tell me this stuff when he started working there, because I’m not transgendered. But when I and my wife started becoming friends with him, people started acting stupid towrds me too even though I’d been there for years.

    His suicide note alluded to the fact that he was tired of trying to make his life better. He felt he’d put out 100 miles of energy and only got back an inch of reward, if that much.

    It was all just too much.

    I’m not a transsexual and I hope this is not out of place, but the best way to survive is to learn camaraderie, working together and making your own resources. Sticking together and helping each other survive.

    Entrepreneurship, worker-owned businesses, DIY health, etc. and as far as health is concerned, it seems like one of the BIGGEST health issues is depression

  7. August 16, 2012 9:04 am

    @gudbuy t’jane, May I ask permission for translating this text into my mother tongue (BR-PT) and reblog in my transfeminst blog? Thanks…

  8. August 16, 2012 9:59 am

    @Transfeminismo Please do! Thank you.


  1. For those who loved Kyle « My journey with AIDS…and more!

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