Through the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, I will embark on a solo quest to row the Atlantic Ocean in a small self-powered boat. From now until my race in December 2019, this site, my Instagram and Twitter @MikesOceanQuest will chronicle my preparation and training, and my advocacy for LGBTQ equality.
While society has evolved in the past decades relative to LGBTQ rights, there is still a long way to go. Having dated a woman who happened to be transgender, I saw how difficult it was for her to reveal to others this part of her. It was heartbreaking to me. As a cisgender, heterosexual man, I began to realize the kinds of struggles I faced are nothing compared to the judgment, isolation, and threat of violence that members of the transgender community must experience when embracing and living their true selves.
The dehumanization and stigmatization of the transgender community is unacceptable. As an ally and friend, I want to advocate for laws and greater awareness to ensure safety and inclusion for all members of the community. While my row is a mere 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, I believe the fight for equality will require much more mileage and must encompass the entire globe. I hope this quest encourages society to row beyond the status quo to guarantee equal rights for all.
Transgender issues at a glance
Transgender people continue to be one of the most at-risk demographics for suicide, hate crimes, violence, poverty, and harassment. Recent statistics have shown that: