Love, loss, and the fight for trans equality.
By Terri Schlichenmeyer
Things are never as bad as they seem. There’s always a brighter spot, if you just look for it. There’s always something to be thankful for and a way of making yourself feel better, because things aren’t as they seem. As in the new book Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride, there’s always a chance to make a change.
Though she was 10 years old the first time she heard the word “transgender,” Sarah McBride knew from an early age that she was really a girl. Problem was, everyone around her saw her as a boy, and she didn’t want to disillusion or disappoint them.
And so, McBride tamped down a feeling of “homesickness” inside herself, and she tried to be a boy by dating girls, joining a fraternity at college, and doing “guy” things that felt wrong. It wasn’t ’til the end of her time as student-body president at American University that she took the leap and came out, publicly, as a woman.
It was a relief, she says, and though there was some initial shock, her friends and family never stopped loving her. She acknowledges her good fortune in their acceptance, since a high percentage of her LGBTQ peers aren’t so lucky.
Not long after this major life-changer, McBride landed an internship at the Obama White House, which was a dream come true. She’d been fascinated by politics ever since she had volunteered as a young campaign worker in her home state of Delaware. Starting in the Office of Public Engagement, she was quickly engaged; activism, as McBride learned, was something she could sink her teeth into as a trans woman.
Happier than she’d ever been, McBride’s life continued to rise: she fell in love with Andy, whom she’d met at a party, though she didn’t see him again until he emailed her months later. He was trans, too—a homegrown Wisconsin boy with a sense of humor, and she adored him. The future was bright.
And then things changed again.
There’s a message inside Tomorrow Will Be Different—but it’s not the usual ode to trans activism that you think is there. Oh, there’s no denying that author Sarah McBride is an activist and she’s played a big part in making change, both locally and nationally. She’s a history-maker and a shaker. But this book isn’t just about that.
Oh-so-subtly, McBride makes readers’ brains itch. LGBTQ teens can be fragile, and you’ll watch them more closely after reading this book. Healthcare isn’t just an issue for the middle class, and you’ll understand that better now. Politics isn’t just something to rant about, and you may be better off than you think you are—even in the midst of a Trump presidency. This book forces a different way of looking at things, but you might not initially notice that as you’re crying over the rest of this memoir.
So grab some tissues while you read, and let your brain itch. Let Tomorrow Will Be Different sink in, because things can always be better than they seem.
This article appears in the April 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.