When I was twenty years old I watched the movie “Boys Don’t Cry.” The film is based on the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a trans man who was raped, beaten and murdered by his male acquaintances when they discovered he was transgender. The film affected me deeply.
I marvelled at the immense bravery of Brandon for being himself and ultimately giving his life for freedom. I felt sick by the barbaric and hateful actions of ignorance, and most of all I was taken aback and outraged at the constant danger and stigma of being a trans person. I wrote a song about it. ‘Brandon’, my favourite song that I have written.  I deliberately wrote the song using the “she” pronoun so anyone listening for the first time with zero prior knowledge about transgender people could recognize I was singing about a man in transition.

We are beginning to become known as a generation that values tolerance and acceptance and forward-thinking. In many ways I agree that we are. But when it comes to transgender people we are still in the goddamn stone age. 41% of trans people at one point in their lives attempt suicide and 69% have experienced homelessness, also 1 in 3 transgender people will get rejected from the shelter system purely because transphobia is rampant. Leelah Alcorn was 17 years old and Zander Mahaffey was 15 when they gave their lives to prove a point just this year. Their point was for many transgender people there is no way out. I believe that together with tolerance and acceptance and love and compassion we can change that.

Brandon, Leelah and Zander we salute your bravery.

Thank you to Laura Jane Grace and Caitlyn Jenner for volunteering your voices and bringing awareness on a global scale. You are heroes.

If you are transgender you are perfect and you are loved. And you will find a way.

Charlie, JPNSGRLS