Trans of Thought: Trans people need a little love

As I write this, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill has passed the Florida Senate and is on the desk of the governor.

I had initially planned to write this column about how the bill should have been more accurately nicknamed the “Don’t Say Trans or Gay Bill” and that the erasure of trans people from the nom de guerre given to it by the opposition, whether intentional or not, was symbolic of how cisgender gay people have all too often erased trans people from the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights.

That contrary to the popular belief of mostly cis gay people, the phrase “gay” did not cover everyone in the queer community and the mention of trans people shouldn’t have been sidelined for the sake of a pithy slogan. I was going to bring up how Sylvia Rivera expressed the same dismay at trans erasure in her address at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally, and was booed so soundly by the gay audience, she went home and attempted suicide. I wanted to then express my disappointment at the great efforts Florida LGBTQIA+ nonprofits put into the Rally for our Rights at Orlando City Hall in comparison to the efforts put forth when legislation primarily affected trans people, and that the rally saw 10 times the attendance seen at similar trans rallies. I was going to wrap up with a pointed “Happy Trans Day of Visibility!” since TDoV is at the end of March, but you can consider this paragraph the TL:DR version of that column that will never be. You’re welcome.

I do still strongly believe all this to be true, but as much as I’d like to believe my words might motivate some of you to do more than offer your “thoughts and prayers” to the plight of the transgender community, I have too often been met with defensiveness. I am just too exhausted right now to fake a patient smile as yet another cis gay person refuses to be held accountable. After all, the world is in a pretty terrible state. We are just emerging from a pandemic, the cost of living is skyrocketing, Florida and states all across the country are passing anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation with a particular focus on trans people, Disney is complicating its relationship with the local queer community, anti-abortion legislation is finding a foothold and of course Russia is committing unspeakable atrocities in Ukraine. That’s a lot of awfulness and I don’t have the spoons.

As a trans person with a tenuous grasp on my mental health at the best of times, I am not ashamed to say that my suicidal ideation has kicked into overdrive these days, exacerbated in particular by the constant drumbeat of transphobic news stories, social media and personal interactions. It is a rare day where I don’t wish I could just gently fade away into nothingness and escape the pain of trauma and hate. It probably doesn’t help that I am between therapists now that my old one has left her local clinic, and my antidepressants haven’t been enough on their own to keep the wolves fully at bay.

I am doing my best to survive, but unfortunately as a trans person, I can’t find relief in those spaces where cis gay people retreat to feel safest. There is no place beyond the occasional trans meetup where I can feel completely accepted and experience the support of unconditional love and understanding. Just as I dread the predictable backlash in response to pointing out how I feel erased as a trans person by “Don’t Say Gay” when I hear it spoken by everyone from local politicians to “Saturday Night Live’s” lesbian cast member Kate McKinnon, I dread what might happen when I walk into a club or step onto the field at a queer sports league as a trans woman. I’ve been subjected to too much transphobia in those contexts and spaces to simply relax.

It is with these things in mind that I approached my fellow board members at Come Out With Pride with the idea of hosting a Pride Prom. I saw a need for an event that could be a morale booster in these tough times but divorced from the protest origins of Pride and without the historical trans exclusionary baggage of the gay clubs and bars. An event that was also designed from the ground up to be explicitly trans inclusive so that trans people could feel free to let their hair down. To that end, and to signal trans inclusivity, I asked for the trans flag colors to be included in the official Pride Prom graphic in addition to the hues of the traditional rainbow flag. And in case people didn’t take note of those trans colors, I asked that the event be described as “geared toward our LGBTQIA+ community,” but also “especially those of us who identify as trans and nonbinary.” Symbols matter. Words matter. Stating “Don’t Say Trans or Gay” matters.

It is my hope that Pride Prom becomes an annual tradition. I think our queer community has a real need for an uplifting event like it. And I also hope that it retains its emphasis on trans inclusivity until the day it becomes no longer necessary. May that day of greater understanding come soon. See you all on April 16 at The Orlando Museum of Art for Pride Prom!

Melody Maia Monet has her own trans lesbian themed YouTube channel at and is the vice president of the board for Come Out With Pride Orlando. To find more information on Pride Prom, visit

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