Trans and suicide
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.