Elevating Voices: Transgender Awareness Month is a series of interviews, experiences, and stories from the transgender and gender non-conforming community. The series is beginning during Transgender Awareness Week – a crucial time to uplift the stories and voices of the trans/GNC community – and will continue in other facets of our work.

Kaleb Hall is a Bodyweld Pilot Quality at Toyota Motor Manufacturing. Read Kaleb’s story below.

As a transgender male, I have dedicated my time and efforts into raising awareness of equality and equity within my community. And, often, in doing so, I’ve risked my own health and safety by outing myself. When I go to a new doctor or health professional, I tell them I am transgender upfront. I do this for my own personal protection. I hate the fact that this is still such an issue in today’s world, especially as the Trump administration continues to launch personal attacks on transgender health and safety through legislation. My biggest fear is being in a dangerous situation of bigotry and hate that could very well be fatal for me.

This year, Transgender Awareness Month means so much more. It feels so very different. As a whole, the world seems to be divided and indifferent—which takes discrimination to a dangerously elevated level. This most recent win for Biden is not only historic, it is also a giant steppingstone for the transgender community.

With deaths within the transgender community steadily rising, we have to stand up, stand together, and bring awareness to this violence. We have to be visible and vocal. We have to talk about these deaths as if they were family members…because they were. They were someone’s child, spouse, sibling, parent, cousin, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, friend, co-worker. They were someone’s “special”. They were so much more than just another statistic.

I spent the majority of my life trying to fill the gaps of what I felt on the inside versus what I saw on the outside. If I were to look back and give advice to my younger self, I’d say, first and foremost, love yourself enough to be yourself.