Write what you know. That is the most common advice given to writers and I am very good at writing what I know. It's what I have always done, weaving stories based on my own experience. I did it for years prior to starting this blog in journals, in music, in manuscripts that are tucked away in a file cabinet and I've done it here for the past six years.
Writing what you know is comfortable. It is certain. It is indisputable because you own your own experience.
I have never written about things I don't know because I don't feel qualified. I worry that I don't have the right language and that I will make a mistake and reveal my ignorance. So, I stay quiet and leave all the things I don't know - and there are many - to those who do and tell myself that it's better that way.
But, yesterday in my writing group at the Loft, my mentor said something that struck me, "Everyone tells you to write what you know but it would be better to write what you want to know."
I thought a lot about that today as I read articles about the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
I have not written about transgender issues because I've never felt that I could do so with any sort of confidence. The most I've ever done here is include the T in GLBT which has only served as a kind of placeholder for bigger conversations of which I am not actively a part.
Today, I want to step outside of what I know and what is comfortable. I know that I may not have the right words but I want to offer the words I do have to honor all those who have lost their lives as a result of transphobia.
To those who want to mark the day in some way, check this out: Transgender Day of Remembrance - 10 Things You Can Do
To all the transgendered people who have touched my life in recent years, friends and acquaintances, I say thank you and I stand with you.