Word of the Month for March 2023 (+ Coping With Transphobia)

Turquoise waters in the background, dark turquoise text in the foreground that reads: "March 2023 Word of the Month plus Coping With Rising Transphobia"

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Hey, all.

I’m heading into March 2023 with a heavy heart.

There’s a lot of anti-queer, and particularly anti-trans shit going on in the world.

It seems like it’s spiraling out of control, taking us back decades in social progress, and it’s got me feeling pretty down lately.

So, my Word of the Month for March is going to reflect that.

I’m exhausted; I feel like I can’t fully express what’s been going on in my head and in my heart these past weeks.

But I hope this post can offer some encouragement to my fellow trans siblings, and our allies.

Let’s dive in.

My Word of the Month for March 2023:

My March Word of the Month is: Empowerment.

I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed lately, seeing so many anti-trans bills spread like a disease across the U.S.

In the face of bigotry and the continuing rise of fascism in my country, it’s so easy to feel helpless, hopeless, and afraid.

While fear and anger are understandable in times like these, they’re really not doing much to empower me.

This month, I want to consciously remind myself that nothing can steal my peace if I don’t let it.

I want to empower myself to continue to walk my path, no matter what obstacles are put in my way by small-minded people.

Now more than ever, I’m realizing how important it is to stop and ask, “How can I empower myself in this situation?” rather than give into feelings of hopelessness.

How I’m Empowering Myself This Month

In response to all the trans hate and discrimination, I’m choosing to empower myself by listing the things that no one can ever take from me.

As my fear is tempted to spiral out of control, I stop and remind myself:

1. They cannot legislate my sense of self.

I will always know who I am, no matter what they say.

If they somehow manage to take away my access to hormone therapy, limit what I can wear in public, re-issue my ID with my deadname and assigned sex on it, or whatever other horrors they try to enact, so be it.

But they can never take away my own inner knowing of who I truly am.

2. They cannot force everyone to be as hateful as they are.

Photo by Aiden Craver on Unsplash

My friends and family and the larger queer community will always exist, and they cannot force us to stop loving and supporting each other.

We (trans people) will always have each other, and we will always have allies.

More people are accepting of trans people than conservatives care to admit.

3. I am capable of handling conflict.

If the western world continues to crumble into a right-wing nightmare, I can keep going. I can stand up. I can speak out.

There are many queer and trans people who lived before me who had to endure things like this, or worse.

Hell, there are people who are living now who have been facing oppression their whole lives.

Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

Of course, the fact that others have dealt with oppression or discrimination doesn’t make it hurt any less to be facing it myself, but it’s important to have some perspective.

I’ve been very privileged to not have faced very much discrimination in my life thus far, especially as an able-bodied white person who grew up in California.

But just because personally experiencing oppression is largely new to me, that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of standing strong in spite of the ugliness of the world.

4. I will not give bigots what they want.

Their hope is that transgender people will either assimilate to their backwards way of thinking, or simply end our lives.

I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of either.

I know who I am, and they will not, cannot, take that away from me.

My queer and trans joy is resistance. They will not win.

5. Trans joy is a powerful form of activism.

A lot of the anti-trans arguments we see are from people who are “worried about the children”, insisting that being transgender is a painful experience full of suffering.

In truth, it is only due to their bigotry that we suffer; when trans people have access to the support and care we need (and deserve), our spirits soar.

I can and will be joyful, not just in my trans experience, but in my everyday life.

Self-expression is a beautiful, wondrous thing, and I will do my part to show the world just how free trans people are when we are brave enough to honor our truest selves.

Victimization or Empowerment?

There will always be people in the world who will try to take our power away in some form or another.

But I will not victimize myself.

Sure, I’ll cry, I’ll scream, I’ll vent.

It’s only natural. We’ve got to feel our feelings; ignoring them isn’t healthy.

I’ll give myself the space I need to feel the fear, the anger, the pain.

And then I’ll get up and push forward, because I am not going to be defined by what others do (or try to do) to me.

Bigots can try to victimize me and people like me, but, just like they can’t make me conform to their absurd and limiting concept of gender, they can’t make me a victim, either.

I hold a power in my spirit that refuses to be broken, and I’m leaning into that instead of fear.

My Song of the Month for March 2023:

My Song of the Month for March 2023 is: I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty.

Keeping with the theme of empowerment, this simple but inspiring song by Tom Petty encourages me to “stand my ground”, even “in a world that keeps on pushin’ me around”.

Like Tom says, there’s no easy way out.

This shit is hard.

But I won’t back down.

My Color of the Month for March 2023:

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

My Color of the Month for March 2023 is Turquoise.

This blue-green color is bright and calming, and it represents balance and clear thinking.

I don’t know about you, but I could use more of that energy right about now!

Turquoise also encourages creativity, and that’s definitely a necessary trait when working on empowering yourself.

Speaking of empowerment and creative solutions, here are some ways we can empower the trans community right now:

I hope you have a powerful March.

And, whether you’re trans, an ally, or a bigot who hasn’t yet accepted this simple truth, let me remind you:

Trans people deserve to be here, we aren’t hurting anyone by being true to ourselves, and we aren’t going anywhere.


Signature of the name Riley
Riley, he/they pronouns

If, like me, you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by regressive politics, here are some encouraging songs, and here are some tips on practicing healthy self care.

Do you have a Word for the Month for March?
What about some ideas on how to empower the trans community during these uncertain times?
Drop some inspiration in the comments below!

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In the background, a photo of rippling turquoise waters. In the foreground, text reads: "March 2023 Word of the Month and Coping With Rising Transphobia." Below is the URL to the blog, LiveByYourDesign.com.

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