But I don't forget how lucky I am, as my blooming (and that of Bono and Talackova and Gabel) stands in stark contrast to the story of Brandy Martell, a transgender woman killed on April 29 near my old neighborhood in Oakland, California. Martell was reportedly gunned down by a group of men who were hitting on her and her friends until the women told them they were trans.

Martell's story is still distressingly common, and her name will now be read alongside the names of a disproportionate number of transwomen of color at the Transgender Day of Remembrance this November. I see her beautiful face, and my heart crumples from the weight of it all: the depth of how unfair it is that, though not free from danger, most of my fears have turned out to be unfounded while many in my community live, and die, with fear a daily reality.

As spring turns once more to summer, I pull out my clothes from last year and try everything on again, thinking about how sweet it is to see myself reflected back to me. I am grateful every day for this life, and the body I have to pilot through it, and I am indebted to every transgender person living their lives publicly — whether that's on national television or a street in Oakland.

As for fear? I'm not afraid of anything anymore.

Thomas Page McBee can be reached at  tmcbee@phx.com, or visit  thomaspagemcbee.com.

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