Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Our Stories Make A Difference

At Fantasia Fair there were talks about telling our stories. At the Moveable Senior Center there was a talk about telling our stories. Back in 2009 when I told my story at Love Makes A Family town hall meetings a number of couples came forward asking how they can help.
Embry-Riddle's Avion Newspaper
By Keenan Thungtrakul/Senior Reporter
October 31, 2016

ink for a moment: how would you feel if you suddenly lost your own children to a ridiculous court order? How will you cope with the fact that the order came against clear evidence to the contrary? How will you react if you found out that the judge made the ruling not based on facts but based on who you are? The most probable answer would be shock, anger, and sheer disappointment. Welcome to the world of transgender civil rights. This realm will expose you to unfair decisions rooted in tradition, not necessarily in facts. Things that you think aren’t existent anymore do exist, and yet few people know of this. It’s a tried and true tale: any drastic change in society will result in hesitation before it is accepted. This hesitation hurts the mind, and no one has shown this hurt better than Ms. Jessica Lynn. For her, there was no eventual acceptance, only denial. A denial that comes not from concrete evidence pointing to it, but political beliefs. She had everything to prove she was capable of caring for her kids, but the judge did not even allow the evidence in the court, despite the fact the court was the one who ordered that evaluations be conducted to determine her capacity to properly raise her children. Aren’t we past that point now where discrimination is not allowed? Apparently not. What African Americans did in the 1960s was only the first step. Now, it’s the LGBT community’s turn to create their own civil rights movement.
The story of Lynn’s struggle opened my eyes to a heartbreaking truth. Discrimination still exists in the justice system, and with the birth of the LGBT movement, people identifying with the community continue to press for change. I’ve heard tidbits of this movement from major news sources, but to hear one person’s story about the struggle to adapt to life as a trans person flung wide open the doors that conservatives try to keep closed. Never before have I felt such hurt for someone like Ms. Lynn. She presented her story in a way that made it relatable to everyone in the audience. For me, I grew up in a traditional society, unaware of these kinds of struggles. Hearing what she had to say gave me new light and a new sense of awareness. She left me with some tips to help any LGBT friends I may have down the road: (1) be there for my friend in times of need, (2) provide continual emotional support, and (3) be willing to listen. It is often that strong support foundation that gets a person struggling with lifestyle choices through the battles that he or she has to face.
Yes, our stories can move mountains or more importantly move legislators.

One of the keynote speakers at Fantasia Fair said that a Republican congressional legislator contacted him and asked to talk to some trans people and parents. After the legislator met with them he said that we can count in his vote.

In South Dakota Governor Daugaard vetoed the bill that would have required trans students to use the bathroom and locker rooms of their birth gender after talking to trans children. KDLT reported that,
Gov. Dennis Daugaard says meeting with transgender people "put a human face" on a bill at his desk that would make South Dakota the first state to require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.
Thomas Lewis is a transgender high school student from Sioux Falls who met with the governor. Lewis says he thinks Daugaard understood from the stories told that transgender people want to be treated with respect.
Yes we can make a change in the world and make it better for the next generation of trans people.

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