Standing Together: The CT Rally To Support Trans Youth

We won’t go back! Step by step, we’re moving forward!

For the second very chilly Saturday in a row, I’ve been proud to be able to publicly march and stand with others who share the same ideals. As a transwoman, today’s event was especially personal as I joined a surprisingly large number of people, considering the weather, on the steps of the Connecticut Supreme Court for the CT Rally to Support Trans Youth. It was also great to see some familiar faces from the trans community as well as friends and fellow activists. The sun even poked out for awhile as if to show its support!

Growing up is hard enough as it is, but when you’re a trans youth it becomes all that much harder even if you have support. Unfortunately, too many trans youth lack that support at home, school and the community. Here in Connecticut, the transgender community has far more rights and access to services than most states in this country. Even so, trans youth still face a lot of challenges.

As with many transgendered individuals, the toughest challenge is in accepting yourself. You know inside that there’s a disconnect between the physicality of what you appear to be and the internal truth of who and what you really are. Understanding and accepting who you were really meant to be is absolutely critical to being able to grow and become yourself. If you can find support, even a single person to listen, care and be there for you, you have a fighting chance.

(In my youth, there was no support to be found, so I hid my true self for many years and it almost ended up killing me on numerous occasions. Fortunately, I hung in there and found the support I needed late in life.)

However, beyond self-acceptance lies the minefield of societal acceptance. Here in New England, it’s much better than down South in the Bible Belt. In many places like that, especially, transpeople of all ages are at far higher risk of dying from suicide or being the victims of sexual violence and hate crimes. And that is not right!

Today, we came together to show our support for Trans Youth and draw attention to the need to respect and accept them for who they are and help them realize their potential to achieve whatever they set their minds to doing. That’s how a society progresses, thrives and makes the world a better place for all of us.

I was very proud of the transgender youth who spoke at today’s rally and showed themselves to be filled with heart, pride and courage. They are the future that we all need to embrace and support.

What can you do to help? In CT, contact any of the groups below for more information. Outside of CT, look for local chapters since many of these organizations are national.

ACLU-CT
CT TransAdvocacy Coalition
GLSEN Connecticut
New Haven Pride Center
OutCT
PFLAG Hartford
PFLAG Hampton
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
Triangle Community Center
True Colors, Inc.

Get involved today, because “Trans Rights Are Everyone’s Rights!!!”

The Divine Miss Bri

 

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Transgender Day of Visibility: This Is Everyone’s Fight

March 31, 2017 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility!

This is a day when those of us who are transgendered (and those who support us) stand up to be counted and let those who can’t come out for fear of rejection and violence know that we support them. But more than that, we stand for the rights of all who live under threat because of who they are. Trans rights are about everyone’s rights and equality for all!

We are engaged in a fight for survival, folks, against the forces of darkness who masquerade as Christians while doing the work of the devil. They perpetuate a false narrative, born of ignorance, that being transgendered is an affront to their religion and that our very existence infringes on their religious freedom. Smugly secure in that ignorance, they paint us as sexual molesters and pedophiles when, in fact, they are far more likely to be one of these perverts than we are.

In a further example of hypocrisy, they accuse us of being the oppressors in wanting to force our views on them. Bulls–t!!! No one is forcing them to transition. No one is forcing them to deny their faith. Yet, they seem to think that’s it’s fine to make us live in accordance with their beliefs or be marginalized. AND THAT’S JUST WRONG!!! But they have amassed considerable right-wing support, which could lead to the passage of the misnamed First Amendment Defense Act that would codify into law anti-LGBTQ discrimination based on religious objections.

Passage of the First Amendment Defense Act would just be the first step in the far right’s campaign to marginalize religious and ethnic minorities. The more power they gain, the more they want. It won’t just stop with attacking the LGBTQ community, so our fight is everyone’s fight.

Our constitution starts with term “We the people …” and makes no distinction as to excluding any particular types or groups of people. The same applies to the Pledge of Allegiance term ” …with liberty and justice for all.” There’s no disclaimer attached excluding any particular groups. Of course, in practice, that has not always been the case, but we continue to make strides in realizing the truth of these terms. That’s progress. And we need to stand firm against any and every attempt to roll back the rights that been gained.

Jesus told us to “love thy neighbor.” He also told us to “render unto Caesar (i.e., the government) that which is Caesar’s.” That means, if the law says that you can’t discriminate against someone else because of religion (theirs or yours), gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc., then you don’t have a religious ground to stand on in refusing to comply. No one is requiring you to change your gender identity, sexual orientation or anything else. You’re just expected to publicly respect the rights of others. It’s a simple, universal concept.

Join our fight now, because if we don’t stand together, we’ll all fall one by one!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

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Exercising Our Rights: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

“Use it or lose it!”

We use that line to talk about a number of things, but it is most appropriate when referring to our rights in a democracy. While it’s most frequently applied to voting, which is critically important, it also applies to demonstrations, marches, holding your elected representatives accountable and other forms of active, participatory democracy.

Although I grew up in the era of the Civil Rights protests and the Vietnam War protests, I was mostly too young to participate, plus I lived in a conservative area where protests of any kind were pretty much non-existent. However, at the still young age of 62 (survival tip: it’s safer to agree with me here than to argue), I was inspired by the Women’s Marches right after the inauguration. Since then, as regular readers of this blog know, I have joined the ranks of activists locally to take action in trying to defend the rights of all against the imminent threats from Trump and the far right since the election.

Today, I took another step by participating in my first protest march, an Equality March in Hartford, CT. It may not have been a huge affair compared to the Women’s Marches, but it was important for those of us who took part. Among the salient points that I took from today’s event:

First, we were a very diverse group of people supporting equality and rights over a broad spectrum of groups: Trans Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Civil Rights, Animal Rights, Workers’ Rights, Immigrant Rights and more. Within this diversity, there was a definite sense of camaraderie and fellowship because we recognize that we are all in this together. There can be no equality until we  achieve equality for all! So, we marched and chanted together for each other.

Second, we were all on the same page about making it a peaceful march. We can all be passionate without being violent about it. And there was no reason for even a cross word. Several people waved and gave us a Thumbs Up in support. We also had a police escort to help us get across intersections as a group, so we weren’t worried about anyone bothering us.

Third, the Hartford P.D. officers were very nice and respectful of us and we were respectful of them. Every situation is different, but mutual respect goes a long way in  minimizing “incidents.”  Can’t always guarantee it on either side, but it helps to try at every opportunity.

Fourth, while rarely will a single action / march / protest result in change by itself, the effects are cumulative so we need to keep it up. The only way to get the other side to understand that we are serious is to outlast them. This is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. And the race has just begun. However, we all have to pace ourselves. When we were talking amongst ourselves before the march started, we all realized there are so many events going on that it’s hard to keep track of them all. That’s good, because there’s always something going on that you can be a part of somewhere. We all need to do what we can, while still taking care of things like work, family and life.

For those of you in CT:

Saturday April 1, from 2:30 – 4 PM, the CT Rally to Support Trans Youth will take place on the steps of the CT Supreme Court building (231 Capitol Ave. Hartford) For more details, visit www.GLSEN.org .

Tuesday April 4th there will be a Teach-In: The Immorality of Inequality starting at 6 PM at the Shiloh Baptist Church (350 Albany Ave., Hartford). For more details visit www.FightFor15.org

There’s so much still to be done, so the keep the faith and stay active, my friends.

And remember to chant: We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!

Victory will be ours!!!

Equality Through Peace and Unity

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

 

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