Some trans people who started their journey in the last 5 years told those of us who started ours over 10 years ago that we are “part of the problem” if we partook in the 10 year challenge. Keep the spaces where I’ve not been welcomed in well over a decade, but I’m not reducing myself from my life.
We are drowned out enough by the majority of you in trans spaces. And that’s when we’re not reduced to a Wikipedia page via DM by those researching surgical outcomes (don’t do this, ask in forums where you’ve come across us) or outright removed from forums because showing pictures of us post-transition/post-op (showing beards and chests, not genitals) in groups can trigger some who haven’t medically transitioned yet or those who don’t desire hormones and/or surgeries.
If your impulse is to defend horizontal hostility or “explain” how my existence and desire not to be further erased is a trigger: proceed directly to the unfollow button.
Besides participation in the challenge being entirely optional, there are a lot of reasons a lot of people won’t participate in it that have nothing to do with transition. You are not “marking” yourselves as trans among your friends by opting out. Some of us are enjoying those who participate and keeping no track at all of those who are not. Most of us have lives too short to put much thought into why so-and-so isn’t participating in an optional, silly challenge.
I partook because social media already had access to pictures that old and recent of me. FB has not gained meaningful additional data from my participation. I partook because it’s affirming for me as a trans person to see the changes brought on by aging in a cisnormative world where the only changes valued among “progressive” circles for trans people, are those brought on by medical transition. It bares repeating that there’s more to my life than transition. It’s affirming as a trans person who struggled in the early days of transition to feel like I was a whole person, complete with a past.
It’s affirming to remind myself how far I’ve come, the tangible proof of the battles I won and how I strive despite the youth centricity and disposability of our culture.