You may wonder why an organization like Transcend would dedicate our inaugural blog post to rejecting not only tolerance, but acceptance, as well. Some might wonder exactly what we’re up to if we’re not looking to generate more tolerance and acceptance for trans, non-binary and all gender-expansive people. That’s a fair question, and I’m guessing some of you already know the answer—because you have probably felt as we do and arrived at the same conclusion.
tolerance /ˈtɒl(ə)r(ə)ns/ – NOUN
1. The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behavior that one dislikes or disagrees with.
2. The capacity to endure continued subjection to something such as a drug or environmental conditions without adverse reaction.Oxford English Dictionary
We reject the notion of tolerance and acceptance because our humanity is not up for evaluation. Our existence, dignity and human rights are not contingent on the tolerance of others and we are not here to be accepted. We are here to live our lives—full, rich, nuanced lives—on our terms, in community with those who see, love and respect us for the whole human beings we are.
We will tell our own stories, record our own histories and claim our place in society, now and in the future. We will also continue working to uncover and amplify the stories of our ancestors, elders and siblings that have been hidden away for far too long. We have always been here and we will always be here—standing together in pride and in power.
acceptance /əkˈsɛpt(ə)ns/ – NOUN
1. The process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable.
2. Willingness to tolerate a difficult situation.Oxford English Dictionary
For those who say they have never met anyone who is trans, genderqueer or otherwise gender-expansive, we reply that you have. We are your family member, your friend, your colleague, your classmate, your community member… If you believe you have never met anyone who is trans, there is a very good chance that you have and that they simply did not feel safe sharing this part of themselves with you.
The work we do at Transcend, in solidarity with other organizations and individuals, is not for our communities alone. As we work for a world that celebrates the nuanced realities of human experience, we are working to free everyone, regardless of their gender, from the suffocating, dangerous and too often violent expectations and limitations of the mythical gender binary.
We hope you will join us in the celebration.
I.S. de Lis
Founder & Volunteer
Pronouns: she, her / they, them / ella en español
I.S. de Lis is a volunteer, community organizer, activist, writer, photographer, event producer and full-time student, with a double major in Sexuality, Gender & Queer Studies and Spanish. She is also the founder of Transcend.