Trans in America


This year was my first Pride since coming out last year. It strikes me that soon, a lot of the ‘calendar firsts’ will be done as I’m quickly approaching my one year mark since coming out.

Pride is a big day on that calendar, and honestly I’m at a loss for words on what to even say today.

First there’s this beautiful, amazing woman on the left.

The past year has been a whirlwind. It has redefined me in more ways than I anticipated, and I was anticipating a lot.

But through all of that, my beautiful wife Sara. She’s amazing. The light of my world. I love her to the ends of the earth and back. I don’t know of a smarter, more tenacious, and more selfless person on the planet. She’s got so much, and she’s never wavered (to me) about her love and commitment.

I don’t need to rehash the whole story, but Sara didn’t flinch when I finally told her I was trans and that transition was what was coming. She certainly did inside, but she never let me see that.

Pride this year was kind of like that all over again, but this time an affirmation from my new city and state.

Several of my co-workers, friends, and Sara of course.

To sum up Pride, I think I need to brag on my co-workers.

When I moved to Albuquerque, I was moving with Sara and our dogs and barely any of our stuff into a small apartment to start a job in a new field with people I largely had never met before.

It was crazier than it sounds really.

I’ll never forget walking in the front door that first day and sitting in the lobby, meeting people and it all being…so normal.

“Well Raychel, they’re really putting on a great show but trust me, it won’t be this easy all the time.”

I remember meeting my office-mate and we bonded over all sorts of funny stories and random anecdotes about our lives.

I remember hesitating when I heard my name from other co-workers at first, honestly work was the first place I’d ever actually gotten to use my chosen name and it was still all so new.

But amidst all of this change in my life, my co-workers were painfully normal. And when I mean painfully normal, I mean me being trans was treated as interesting as anyone else being anything else. It was comforting, relieving, and has allowed me to settle into New Mexico and really commit.

There was no noise about micro aggressions or having to face troublesome co-workers — I was allowed to be me and flourish. I couldn’t be more thankful.

Pride to me is just that as well: to be and to flourish.

It’s that brief time where we all get to flourish and be ourselves — but it also remains a goal we are fighting for every day. For those of us celebrating pride as LGBTQ+ individuals, that’s truly what we want. The least interesting thing should be the gender of who we love or how we identify — we should be seen as people with the same complex desires, dreams, and emotions as anyone else. We are people first and foremost.

Pride 2019: a goal we will fight for, a weekend we’ll remember.

By Raychel Sanner

I'm a trans photographer and filmmaker based in New Mexico. I love adventure and travel and exploring my state. I chase down incredible storms and skies. I advocate for good mental health and for my trans siblings.

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