We See You

Meghan Buell, Photo Courtesy of Facebook

In May of 2016, then US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, uttered these words during a speech, “…let me speak directly to the transgender community itself…we see you…”. These words brought me to tears then and I just pulled a tissue from my bag now. Why would these three simple words aligned side-by-side-by-side mean so much?

For almost 2/3 of my life I lived an invisible life. I had something that I was unwilling to let anyone see. Granted, for most of that time I didn’t even have a word to describe it but, nevertheless, I hid my uniqueness. The burden of living with a secret is heavy. It can consume a person and alter one’s reality. I did an excellent job of hiding my secret from everyone. I had perfected the covert operation to such a level that maybe a job with the NSA or FBI might have been successful. However, the burden usually always wins out, at least in my experience it does. And, for me, it did.

In 1998, I came out for the first time. It was a terrifying yet exhilarating experience. It was the first time I was visible to another. It was the first time I felt vulnerable. It was the first time I was uncloaked. I was naked, emotionally speaking. This is a common place to be in for transgender folks like me. We have to take this leap of faith in order for others to see us. It is an important first step toward our future.

On March 31 of each year, the transgender community stands and is visible. This is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. For me, everyday is my day of visibility. I live an out and proud life as a transgender woman. For many transgender people this is not the case. I am visible everyday for them. I want them to know that every effort by some to keep us invisible through “bathroom bills” and anti-trans legislation will not erase my existence. It will not erase their existence. I will not let that happen. Because I see you. WE SEE YOU.

Author: Meghan Buell

Meghan Buell is the founder of board president to TREES, Inc., a transgender-specific educational nonprofit. She is a leader in the transgender community locally, regionally and nationally. In addition to her work with her organization, Meghan guest lectures at colleges and presents at conferences around the country. She also served for five years on the Transgender Advisory Committee for OUT & Equal Workplace Advocates, a worldwide LGBTQ workplace diversity organization. Her background is in planning & community development, nonprofit management and fundraising along with business management. Some of the organizations with which Meghan has done transgender awareness training are BP, Caterpillar, YMCA and Whirlpool. Megan is an out and proud transgender woman who was born and raised in Northwest Indiana.

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