Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”–Dr. Carter G. Woodson
I was in a Facebook discussion talking about the historic Philippine election win of Geraldine Roman to the Philippine Congress when someone went on a rant about not caring about what she called ‘fake firsts’.
This white trans person then continued to say it was a waste of time to talk about who was the first trans person to do X thing, and you know I had to call that crap out quickly.
Knowing your history is never a ‘waste of time’ as this person put it. It is a vital component of not only building community, but building pride in being a trans person and tracking the progress of our movement in changing the culture..
Knowing who was the first documented trans person to be elected to a state legislature (Althea Garrison, 1992), or the first out trans person to have a New York Times best selling memoir (Janet Mock) is important not only for trans elders to know, but to inspire our trans kids.
When you have elements of society trying to erase your very humanity, eviscerate your civil rights and violently erase your existence, you much do everything to build self esteem and pride in your trans youth so they don’t lose hope and start feeling that their only way our is to commit suicide
Knowing that we have trans people who have and are making history, are making positive contributions to society and are doing so today is critical.in building the self esteem and pride that not only builds community, it is a factor in helping reduce suicide rates.
So yes, historical trans firsts are important and necessary to track and remember not only here in the US, but around the world.