“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit. “Does it hurt?”
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt. And it doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
This an excerpt from my favorite book, The Velveteen Rabbit. After I transitioned and re-read these words, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I felt like this passage was written just for me. As every transgender person knows, it takes extraordinary strength and courage to transition—to become Real. And like far too many transgender people, I’ve experienced hatred, judgment, and intolerance simply because I chose this difficult journey and decided that despite the challenges and despite the pain, I needed to become Real. So to anyone who does not accept us for who we are, I say this: you judge us not for who we are, but because you yourself are not strong enough to undertake the difficult and painful yet tremendously beautiful journey that is becoming Real.