Monday, November 21, 2016

Transgender Day of Remembrance Speech

My speech from the Transgender Day of Remembrance last night at the MCC church in Hartford.
When I was invited to speak here tonight I was planning on talking about how the light was at the end of the tunnel, but now…

We are approaching a dark time and we need to take stock on what we have and what we could lose in the future and how we can preserve our gains that we have already made.

We have a lot to lose but those who are not in this room with us have even more to lose. The trans people who were killed this year were trans but they were also black or Latino and all they wanted was to live. Those of us with privilege need to reach out and help people that are living on the margins.

But it is not only the trans community that we need to reach out to but also Muslins, the undocumented, people of color, Latinos, and the disabled, they all need our protection.

We cannot let what happened here in World War II to the Japanese during happen again with Muslims or the undocumented people. We cannot let them be put into internment camps.

Around the country we have seen a rise in hate crimes and a rise in calls to helplines because of the fear that is gripping the country. One report said that the Transgender Hotline received a tenfold increase in the number of calls after last week elections.

You all know the Martin Niemöller's famous quote…
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

And ends with,
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We cannot let this happen again!

We need to band together. We need to link arm to arm, march together and leave no one behind.

We must not only look out for those in the trans community but we have to help those who are less fortunate because their race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion intersects with their gender identity. We must care for the trans people who cannot integrate in to society because of their ability to pass and they are the ones who will feel the hate directed against them. They are the one who will feel the bare the blunt of this new reality.

I hope that we will not see an increase in the number of people who will harm themselves but I fear that we will.

We must not only focus on national events but also locally. The Senate is now tied with eighteen Republicans and eighteen Democrats and the same senator who 2011 introduced an amendment to the gender non-discrimination bill that would have required all trans person to register with the
Department of Motor Vehicles is now going to be Minority Leader in the Senate.

Last year a bill was introduced that would have stripped away health insurance for trans people and we have to be vigilant that bill like that are soundly defeated in committee and never make it to a vote on the floor of the legislature.

What will the future bring?

How will our school children be affected we can only guess, but we should prepare for the worst.

We will probably lose our insurance coverage for medically necessary trans health care with not only Obamacare but also Medicare, but we cannot let state Husky insurance dump us which so many of us desperately need.

We may lose being able to change our gender markers on Social Security and Medicare and our passports without having surgery. At the worst we may not be able to change them at all.

What will happen to our brave soldiers, airmen, and sailors who came out as trans, or lesbian, or gay we do not know. The worst case scenario is that they will be discharged and hopefully they will still be able to get needed VA benefits.

We will see trans people, lesbians and gays go back into the closet again.

We are going to be going to be going through tough times but we can do it together and we did it before when we were forced into the closets by the laws of the fifties and sixties, and when the plague struck in the eighties. We can survive it again.

We are resilient, we have to be to have come this far. Our journey in life is hard and it is going to get harder, how hard I have no idea but we can weather the storm together, but one thing I do know is that we cannot let fear rule our lives.

No comments: