Repeatedly, I have spoken and written regarding the necessity for a full, true and complete human rights amendment to the US Constitution and yet I still find myself embroiled in the necessity to continue in this quest.
As each day passes, with the names of newly murdered victims to add to the list to be read and remembered this coming November on Transgender Day of Remembrance, I am reminded that the need for equal rights in this country is greater than ever and will remain as a constant reminder that the need to garner support from around the world will never cease until we finally come to terms with the truth.
From the right-wing Conservative Christians who have somehow confused gender with sexuality, there is now a call to boycott the Girl Scouts for allowing a young transgender child to be openly accepted and welcomed. Come on now, a child of this age hasn’t even entered puberty or even begun to discover sexuality. How can anyone of good conscience send a blatant and clear-cut message to a child stating that because this child was born with a birth condition that they are somehow not worthy to belong or fit in. This is the same group that boycotted JC Penny when it was announced that they had selected Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson. This is such obvious ignorance and cannot be tolerated by any civilized society. As Ellen would say and has repeatedly said on her show, “Be kind to each other.”
At every turn they attack anyone whom they perceive as different. I believe these are the same Christians who sought to deny inter-racial marriage. The only preventative measure is the enactment of an amendment to the US Constitution which would guarantee the rights of all US Citizens.
Recently in New Hampshire there was another attack on the freedom to marry. When we continue to allow voters and legislators to have the power to strip away the rights of other citizens because they are different, the result is that all of the LGBT citizens in this country remain at risk, as do the next group of citizens under attack.
Do we have a congress-person in office who would be willing to sponsor such a bill? I do believe that if we begin to strongly protest the abuse, and flood our Congress with requests for such a bill, we can and will see it happen.
David and I are asking you to join with us and petition your congress person to sponsor such a bill. Join with us in stating that enough is enough and let your country know that you are also a tax-paying citizen who is entitled to the protection of our Constitution.
I’m not sure where we’ll be this coming November, yet wherever we are our voices will be heard loud and clear before, during, and after the election. One of our stops on tour will be in Washington, DC for visits to the offices of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Until such time arrives when a constitutional amendment is in place, rights can and will be deliberately stripped away through the election of more right-wing politicians.
I must point out that in order for us to lead the rest of the world we must do this by example. How can we as a country protest human rights violations in another country while we allow our own violations to be openly displayed to the rest of the world? In essence our example is equivalent to the condoning of brutal murders around the world against the LGBT population.
David and I are both pleading with you to begin to donate to your equal rights organizations that are willing to go the distance. Personally, I endorse the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The NCLR, Equality USA in each individual state, National Center For Transgender Rights, Human Rights Campaign, GLAD, PFLAG, and the Transgender Law Center. Yet it takes more than money; it takes your own personal involvement and your own voice. It is time that we all unite and band together for the change we wish to see.
It is time to go to the rooftops and shout your truth of freedom, grasp your rights with a tight fist, and refuse to settle for less than full equality. How many more people need to be beaten, tortured, and murdered? The concept that Uganda is so far away and has no real impact on your life because you are not the one in danger is an irresponsible position for anyone to take. What is happening in Uganda with the new legislature condoning a death sentence has the full support of those same right-wing Christian Missionaries who have not only encouraged the death penalty for gays but have gone so far as to advocate and promote death. They will stop at nothing which is an extremist religion not so different from other religions they are condemning.
Personally, I have felt and experienced their wrath, and at age 61 I refuse to allow anyone to ever relegate me to a back seat on the bus. I have walked in those shoes and took it upon myself to trade those shoes in for the ones I walk in today. During my life, I have had to experience homelessness, hunger, shame, defeat, persecution, and imprisonment because I am a transgender woman. Somehow through it all I discovered my talent for writing and public speaking. While I was imprisoned I discovered my true worth through the study of law and I began to fight back. It is through this strong determination that I finally found true victory and my own healing process began. There have been many days where I didn’t know if I had any strength left to go on but somehow, miraculously, I did.
Yet, wherever I go I witness others who have been so beaten down by society that they no longer can stand on their own. They have given up and feel they don’t have a voice. So many are going hungry daily, living on the streets, in shelters or surviving on Disability in State Run Hotels. They don’t know where to begin and it is our responsibility to become the voices of the silenced. I have personally witnessed the physical and verbal abuses faced everyday by a portion of our society and understand why they have chosen to give up. It is for these voices of my people that I must use my talents as a writer and activist. It is for you that I lift my voice, and I refuse to give up. It is for you with whom I have broken bread at Trans-Thrive and the Ark of Refuge, to those of you who attended my workshops. It is for those of you, who have walked with me in friendship down the streets of San Francisco, to those I shared a place in line with at Glide Memorial, and to all of you who have given up on yourselves that I write.
Imagine losing the love and respect of your family, friends, and life as you always knew them to be. Imagine being cast away by the only love you’d ever known. Imagine life without the possibility of a job. Imagine being relegated to living in a shelter or sleeping on a sidewalk and being forced to sell your body for food. Imagine hunger and the lack of knowledge of where your next meal would come from, if ever. Imagine a life without hope because you were born a transgender person. Imagine the loneliness and desperation. Imagine that all that remained was sinking deeper into the mire of depression for lack of love until one day you ceased to exist. How many times can a heart be broken before it withers away and dies for the lack of love and acceptance?
It is for you the voices of the silenced of my people that I must write. Even at this great distance I have not forgotten you or our plight for freedom. Your faces and your voices inspire and encourage me daily. I will never forget your stories which you so honestly shared with me which I now take to the world. It is you who inspire and encourage me everyday.
At the end of this month BULLY will open in theaters and I urge everyone who can afford a ticket to please grab someone who can’t afford the ticket and take them as your guest. How many youths and adults alike must die from suicide caused by the condemnation and judgments of the bullies before we finally enact true legislation which would protect the rights of all humans? Children who bully learn this behavior from adults.
I was once one of those youths who thought it would be easier to die than to go on living and it was after two suicide attempts that I finally decided to somehow survive. My heart goes out to all the children of our world who are struggling so hard to survive. Please band with us in the message of full, true, and complete human rights for all. Together we shall rise, and rise, and rise. Together we shall find freedom as we lift and build each other up.