Trans joy exists in the small victories of being trans, in knowing that people like us are not inherently bad or different or inferior to anyone else. It thrives in the little affirmations passed in cafes, between the pages of novels shared among friends – in silent, passive, unmarked representation in the ubiquity of life.
For me, it’s important to celebrate the power of unspoken camaraderie in the trans community and the bond we share, even when we don’t exchange words. It’s a connection that exists without the need to identify as trans or advocate for trans rights – no matter what, we support each other by simply existing.
Some of the most genuine moments of joy I have experienced have been in small or even unspoken exchanges with other trans people. Tiny thanks from other community members can be affirming, empowering, and sparking joy — and they don’t have to be clear or loud messages to be effective.
Tiny thanks from other members of the trans community can be affirming, empowering, and sparking joy — and they don’t have to be clear or loud messages to be effective.
For example, my bandBlankslate, recently opened for the trio Caamp to a sold-out concert hall in Aspen, Colorado. After our set, as my bandmates and I made our way through the crowd, a young man stopped me and complimented our performance.
After discussing our music, he shared that he went through my Instagram and discovered that I’m trans, just like him. He thanked me for the silent performance we provided (one of my bandmates also happens to be trans); he said he didn’t expect to see this come in overnight.
For me, this note of “silent performance” speaks to the heart of trans joy – it’s in the way you live your daily life; every interaction has the capacity to be positive when you live authentically.
The ‘silent performance’ speaks to the heart of trans joy – it’s in the way you live your daily life; every interaction has the capacity to be positive when you live authentically.
In my day job, I work as a reporter, primarily covering crime and the courts in Jefferson County, Colorado. I don’t get to interview a lot of trans people, but when someone comes out as trans, I can offer them a safe space that they don’t always have access to the media. It’s silent performance and unspoken camaraderie at work. Trans people transition because we want to live our lives according to who we know we are. And when we do, we massively see positive changes in almost every aspect of life.
Since becoming trans, I’ve grown closer to my family and friends, more productive at work, and more creative as a musician — and I attribute it all to choosing to live my truth. To say it harms others is bigotry, plain and simple.
In the face of legislative attacks on trans rights, community is more important than ever. Having a best friend who is also trans has been vital to my mental health. By leaning on each other, if we see something upsetting on the news or have a tough day at work, we are able to rally together and provide support and empathy. I’m also lucky to have a support system with lots of people who can empathize with the trans experience. And for people who don’t have a trans best friend or strong support network, the network of unspoken camaraderie and silent representation can feel like a warm hug in everyday life.
Trans people excel at being there for each other. We understand each other’s lived experiences in complex and nuanced ways, and we can provide support – and lightness – in times of tribulation.
“I strongly believe that community is not just about healing, but about saving lives,” says Emma Mahn, LCSWa licensed clinical social worker who works with trans patients “It creates a much-needed sense of belonging and safety for everyone, but especially for marginalized people like the trans community.”
All in all, being trans is a joyful, beautiful, and vital thing. Even in the face of attacks on our rights and livelihoods, we are stronger together than any hatred or bigotry ever could be. The silent portrayal I feel and the network of unspoken camaraderie I experience in the trans community reinforces this reality for me every month of the year, with pride.