To My Trans, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Siblings

When they come for you

I will shield your name

I will field their questions

I will feel your pain

I have sat with this for a long time. I have hurt people in my (un)learning process. I have given up trying to understand why I should call myself cis. Given up trying to understand why the question was so triggering. Given up trying to hear the roaring of your pain. I have given up and started again when the pain of my hypocrisy became too much. I’ve embarrassed myself, asked absurd questions, eavesdropped on digital dialogues where cis people were doing harm, getting read, and grumbling about your toxicity. Grumbled about your directness, unapology, and righteous anger. I kept starting over because it is what I want so many people to do for me as a black cis woman.

I’m sorry it took me so long to get here. But I am happy to say that I’m ready now, though still completely imperfect, to be a shield or a shadow, a witness or whatever you may need that I have to give. My love is yours.

I will suffer no judgment of you, no transphobia in my presence. I will hold space in my heart to reflect on your pain. I will hold my cis siblings accountable with loving compassion in the moments when it’s too painful for you to speak kindly. When I fall short, I will begin again without hesitation. I will not be so greedy as to close the circle of belonging to you.

Change does not threaten me because my love for myself is unwavering. The shame of my mistakes is no excuse to resign. I love the feeling of love more than I care for comfort. I stand humbled by the courage of your way of being. May you feel my love and compassion and call on it whenever you are in need.