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Declining Nomination to the Inaugural “Trans 100” List

Date: April 3, 2013

Last Sunday, trans activist groups We Happy Trans and This Is HOW launched the first-ever “Trans 100” List highlighting “100 trans activists currently working in the U.S. to improve the conditions of the community and the lives of those in it.”

During the launch ceremony, which was held in Chicago and was also live-streamed online, they announced my name as one of the 100 activists, without my consent. I only found out about it because someone congratulated me on Twitter. It was confusing, because at first I only read that I was “mentioned,” which didn’t make it clear if I was actually one of the 100 people named in “Trans 100” list, or if I was just casually mentioned–but someone watching the event told me that they definitely did read my name as part of the list.

Seeing my confused tweets, co-directors of “Trans 100” both reached out me later to apologize what happened. Here’s what they said:

This was the first attempt at creating a list of trans activists doing work in the community. We had over 500 nominations. A team of 17 curators researched, argued and voted on 360 distinct individuals. We had aimed to secure permission from each of the final 100 selected before the 31st, and a volunteer wrote to this address on the 26th, but there were a few people who we hadn’t heard from, yourself included.

I produced the launch event held in Chicago, where we were to read aloud the 100 names. In the last minute push to show time, I made a quick decision to read all 100 names, but hold off on publishing the list, which was supposed to be released immediately following the event.

It was a bad judgement call to read your name when we hadn’t secured your permission, and I apologize. It was an error that won’t be repeated with anyone else in the future, and I’m truly sorry you had to learn about this secondhand.

I can just imagine the nightmare of communicating with every one of 100 people when working with a deadline, so I understand why they did what they did–although of course it would have been better if they didn’t just jump forward. I do appreciate their work, and that they nominated me for the honor.

After much thought, however, I decided to formally decline my inclusion in this year’s “Trans 100” list. I just don’t like being packaged this way, especially when the list is being sent to the mainstream media, and also feel that it would impose an expectation on me that feels restrictive. I need to be able to write and speak honestly without worrying that I might give “Trans 100” list bad publicity.? I’m weird like that.

On a side note, this reminded me of when Campus Pride selected me as part of its 2009 “Hot List.” Campus Pride didn’t contact me at all, before or after the selection (well not for several years until I was contacted for something else), and I only found out about it when a local LGBT newspaper called me to interview me about it. I was so unprepared and uninterested in the listing that they didn’t even use any part of my interview.

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