Finding one’s authentic self

By: Nilo Exar, Assistant News Editor

Writer and activist Tiq Milan spoke about his personal journey, transition and how transgender people should be true to themselves during Towson’s Nov. 19 Transgender Remembrance event.

“Transgender is a process, it’s a journey to our authentic selves,” he said.

Milan, who headlined the event, also spoke of the importance of having support networks, and spoke of his own mother and the support and love she gave despite her initial confusion with the transgender lifestyle.

“She loved me enough to challenge me to take up space and be respected,” Milan said.

Milan’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in June 2014. When she died, her last words included using the pronoun “he” for Milan.

“I promised her that as I built my legacy, I would cement her’s, as well,” Milan said.

Milan acknowledged in remembrance the transgender people who had lost their lives in 2015, many of whom were trans women of color.

According to a mid-November report released by the Human Rights Campaign and the Trans People of Color Coalition, “In 2015, at least 21 transgender people have been victims of fatal violence in the the United States, more killings of transgender people than any other year on record.”

“The murder of trans women of color is not due to bad luck or the length of her skirt,” Milan said.

He also said that there is a lot of work to be done in the wake of marriage equality. Milan said that in many states transgender people can still be evicted and not hired solely do to their sexuality.

Milan also spoke of a tendency for society and the mainstream media to focus on transgender people’s biology rather than the discrimination issues facing the transgender community.

Globally, Milan believes the world is at a tipping point, and that a throwback to the future, when gender was seen as more of a spectrum rather than a binary, will be ever present in the foreground of society.

Milan closed his speech with a quote from his late mother.

“We have to be more concerned with building maps to our future than monuments to ourselves,” Milan said.

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