On Trans Day of Remembrance this year of 2015, in the midst of picking up the pieces from yet another defeat in my struggle for sobriety (sanity, life itself), I am wondering how many folks who’s names will be read aloud tonight struggled with drugs and alcohol. I’m wondering how many trans/gender non-conforming folks lost their lives this year to an overdose, liver disease, car accidents, diseases transmitted through drug use, or took their own lives under the influence or with the compounding stress of being trans and suffering from addiction. I have had the honor to know a few of them, before they left us too soon.

I recognize that, except for a few variables in my life, I could very well be a part of that statistic. I have been to rehab three times. I have had access to counseling and psychiatric medication, on which I heavily rely. I have a supportive family that has never given up on me. I was introduced to 12 step early on and have always felt safe there. I was able to transition at 22. I am white. I am seen in the world as a relatively normative male. I can hardly wrap my head around what my life would have been like if any of these variables were different. It’s hard to say if I would be alive today. In these troubled times in my life, I am often amazed that I am still alive, good variables and all.

So this year, my heart and my thoughts go out to all the trans/etc folks who have lost the battle with addiction and mental health. My heart and thoughts go out to those who are alive and still struggling, to those who are still alive but feel hopeless, and to all those who love them. May all the good vibes sent out today give us all the strength and courage to get through one more day.

j

9 thoughts on “TDoR 2015

  1. Joe, you are not just floating through this existence passing as a relatively normative male, you are a normal male, albeit it maybe on a higher emotionally connected level because of the path that was laid out for you. As someone who has also had to follow that path, just the other way around, with all the things you espoused; white, unerring family support, smooth transition at 21, I found no need nor reason to grab hold of a crutch, be it alcohol or drugs. I think there is a certain amount of being on guard necessary and the thought of being anything but in control of myself was a scary prospect. Without personally knowing you but knowing you through your amazing words, musically and literarily, as well as catching glimpses of you singing ‘Wild mountain thyme’ with your mother or serenading your brother and his new wife at their wedding, I can tell that you are a beautiful soul, seriously I don’t know anyone that could move me to tears listening to their song about a little tree or about an old woman and her garden, but you can do that to me. You owe it to yourself, to your mother who cradled you as a baby and dreamed of nothing but a happy life for you, to all the future people that you will meet and influence, to be good to yourself, be truly good to yourself, to know that being trans doesn’t define you, me or the rest of our brothers and sisters, that we shouldn’t be happy with just getting through another day, that we are as valuable as the rest, even more so, that our trans existence isn’t a malady that we need to self medicate against. If you want to be or not, you are a role model to me, just like Namoli Brennet is a role model to me, you show the younger generation that we have talent, we aren’t objects, we aren’t stereotypes, you need to be that role model for yourself. Keep up the fight Joe, you are worth it…all my love.

  2. Always rooting and praying for you to find your way. I’m available
    anytime if you want to chat or hang out. Love Uncle Normie

  3. I am so glad you are writing again ( maybe I’ve just not been able to see where it was!). You speak for a lot people with underlying angst. Thank you for this clear and honest expression and your love.
    Ann

  4. Dear Joe,
    Your sweet, naked, heart felt post truly pierced my heart Joe. Addiction is a terrible disease and every day is a fight for your life. For what it’s worth, you are precious to me and of great value in the world. I hope that the coming months bring you unexpected and delicious peace and love.

    xoxo,
    Leslie

  5. You don’t know me at all, but I’ve loved your music for years and rooted for you since learning of your struggles. Know that you have support and love coming from many places – even “strangers”. Wishing you all the best.
    ~Cindy

  6. Joe,
    I hope you can feel it in your core how much you are loved and respected for your true self.
    Here’s to continuing to go deep,
    Dora

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