“3-2-1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!” An immense wave of relief and comfort washed over me like an ocean crashing on the beach. I was alone, wrapped up in bed, but I felt the collective sighs of the east coast celebrating that 2021 was finally over. What followed was a fearless optimism about the year ahead. I started 2022 being utterly unsure of what I’d be doing for the seven months before the start of law school. I got rejected from almost every internship or job I applied to, and it seemed like doors slammed in my face every day. And yet, it was continuous optimism that landed me a position as chapter coordinator of PFLAG Charlotte, an organization that helped save my life.

As a community activist, I believe the optimism that often comes at the start of a new year is paramount to success. According to NBC News, at least seven states proposed anti-trans bills in the first week of 2022. The ongoing attacks on my community can often create feelings of despair. However, I’m a firm believer that joy and optimism in the face of oppression are radical acts of resistance. They’re acts that don’t go unnoticed by those around us. They’re acts that remind us that we are both the sum of what is and could be.

I’m full of optimism about what we can accomplish as a community and a world. So I sing praises in advance for what will come for me, the LGBTQ+ community, and society in the new year. I know that times will get tough. I know that hopelessness and despair may find their way into my life like unwanted house guests. However, if I have learned anything in 2021, it’s that optimism is a key that’ll unlock treasure chests of endless possibility.