As a queer American, and one who has been involved in the movement for L.G.B.T.Q. equality for over two decades now, I am not surprised by the way trans folks are continuously bullied, misunderstood and belittled. What does surprise me, a little, is that in response, so many others — straight, cisgendered and gay — have rallied on our behalf.
Standing up makes a difference. Back in 2020, on the same day that Ms. Rowling posted one of her screeds about trans folks eroding what it means to be a woman, the British actress Emma Watson (best known for playing Hermione in the Harry Potter film series) tweeted, “I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.” That mattered. When the actor Don Cheadle wore a T-shirt that read, “Protect Trans Kids” on “Saturday Night Live” in 2019, that mattered. When Iowa — Iowa! — flew the trans flag at the State Capitol building on the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2019, that mattered.
When members of Congress displayed the flag outside their offices for the International Transgender Day of Visibility, that mattered, too. I was especially grateful last year when Democratic Representative Marie Newman of Illinois put one up so that her neighbor across the hall, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, had to look at it when she came to her office. Ms. Greene had criticized the Equality Act — which would expand civil rights protections to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity — by calling it a “direct attack on God’s creation.”
I have a message for all those who would rather leave me out of the American story: I am not an attack on God’s creation. I am someone whom God has made, just like this. It may be that there is no room for me in your view of the world. But the world contains all sorts of miracles: the wombat and the seahorse and the night-blooming cereus. Surely there is room in the universe for all of these things, as strange — to you — as we might be.
I have been writing for The New York Times Opinion page for 15 years now, since Halloween of 2007. Today, with equal measures of pride and fatigue, I step down from my post as contributing Opinion writer. I admit this makes me a little sad; there is so much more work to be done. But I know that as I near retirement age, I’ll be grateful to be freed from the constant deadlines this column has demanded and to turn my energies to other projects, including a new novel coming this fall, “Mad Honey,” co-authored with Jodi Picoult.