Dr. Antonia E. D’orsay PhD, MS, MA
1) What gives you hope about the future?
This is a hard question for me. Because for me, hope is not something I am given, it is something I draw upon. I suppose it is a consequence of all my assorted intersections and resilience, and probably somewhat due to having been a mixed race girl born before Loving who watched the changes to the world as a result of laws made in the 60’s meant to help people of color, but ultimately hope from me comes from within.
I have made changes, so I know change is possible. I have seen people who I would expect would be opposed to anything Trans and Gender Diverse related step up and embrace a stranger with love and affection – knowing they are trans. I have seen damn near every single poll on LGBT issues since 1985, and I have watched the change, the growth, the improvements. I have seen our own community grow out of bioessentialism, out of thinking that a community is made up of people who all think alike, out of ideas and concepts that accepted defamation and debasement.
I have seen those who are newly out or still young carving new paths that older folks could not have seen because those paths didn’t exist yet. I have seen the brilliance in action that once was only talked about in terms of “if only we had transitioned younger” or sooner.
So I have hope that rises up inside me every morning, no matter what the news is, no matter what fantastical and derogatory news story of the day has come out, because I have already seen and heard all those arguments before, and I know how they work. I have hope when I look at the faces of young soon to be professionals as I lecture them and answer their questions about trans care, I have hope when I get a compliment from a delivery driver about the small trans flag that sits out front of my home.
I don’t need to be given hope. I carry it with me like I carry all my other baggage, and there are days when I curse that hope, but it is like a warm and friendly teddy bear that I have had since I was a child. It weighs nothing, and when times seem their darkest, I hold fast to it and somehow it gives me the strength to go on.
On the other hand, it could just be that I am too stubborn to stop. But Hope is what would give me the will to resist, the strength to reclaim, and the fierceness to rebel.
2) What does trans joy mean to you?
Trans and Gender Diverse joy is a subjective, personal thing, a combination of contentment and euphoria, sometimes transitory, sometimes just sitting there under the skin, radiating from someone and lighting up the world around them. It is confidence in our selves, in our lives, and happiness and peace that comes from the congruence we finally have, not only physically but in the wholeness of our experiences, in whatever way works best for us. It is a tangible, measurable thing that few take the time to measure that many can see with their own eyes if they but look up and seek it.
It is the rejoicing, the celebration of self, the party in the heart that propels us forward in ways that reveal to us and those around us that *this is what was missing, that everyone else has*. It is the very existential moment that we become all that we have always known ourselves to be – even if things are as perfect as we might like.
It is what we survive for, and how we thrive. Embrace it when it comes. Revel in it. Delight and frolic and remember that once this thing was the most important goal – and is still noted during holidays.