On Trans Day of Remembrance: A Proposal
In light of Trans Day of Remembrance, this letter is more of a proposal to the LGBTQI community, specifically to my wonderful sisters of the “transnation.” My objective of this letter is to share ideas and ignite a spark in the women (and I use the term woman broadly to express all women and not having to put “trans” in front of the term. We are all WOMEN, be it that that’s what you identify as, and I don’t speak for all women but those who identify as such) to change our perspective of our communities (be it our neighborhoods, abroad, and the LGBTQI communities) and ourselves.
I want all my beautiful people to take the time to process this proposal, and take an initiative to better our communities and ourselves. To put forth an effort to have our voices heard and to let the world know we exist and the issues that affect us aren’t being acknowledged, nor solved.
This all came about from a letter that I received, followed by some paperwork for review for the Trans Youth Support Network‘s (TYSN) Leadership Development Program, and a Tarot reading I gave myself. But it all made sense when I was trying to sleep, which is usually when I have these epiphanies, and the word “collaborative” steadily flashed in my head and it continued until it was clear to me, as in it I opened my mind’s eye. I sat up and pieced it all together and there bloomed the inspiration to put this together. I want to share these series of events that led to the light-bulb going off over my head, and my proposal to people all over who want to make changes and have OUR voices heard.
It all started with a very artistic letter (which I’m sure took a while to write) from Alexander K. out in Philadelphia. I’m going to share this with you all, then I will incorporate my feelings of what I read in my conclusion of this proposal:
I am writing to you from the City of Brotherly Love—Philadelphia.
Last Saturday, I marched alongside 300 of my brothers and sisters, neighbors, family, and friends at the second Philadelphia Trans March.
It was amazing to see such a display of strength and solidarity from our community and allies in the wake of tragedy. Last month, we lost a young (trans)woman of color to violence. Her name was Kyra Kruz, and she is remembered as a bright and truly beautiful person—already such a vital force of good in Philly, and taken [my emphasis] from us too soon, as it happens too often.
My time with Kyra was brief, yet her impact was priceless. As a teenager the first time I really came out as trans, as much to myself as other people, was at a group for trans and gender questioning youth Kyra revived and breathed new life into as a leader.
The trans community in Philly, like the whole, is large and diverse, and I’d be lying if I said we’re one big happy family. But we are a family. Even though, at times, we might treat each other poorly, our time together brief, even if we’ve never met. Sometimes we forget about it. But it can be such a source of profound joy, and the only was to get through the worst things in life. I was remembered of this during a vigil held for Kyra at our LGBTQI community center, where the service had been delayed to allow the entirety of staff and young people from the youth center. In particular I was incredibly moved by the presence of the Center’s trans and questioning youth, and words from Kyra’s co-visionary and co-mentor. He spoke about his decision to bring them to show them the importance of standing together in pain as well as celebration, instilling hope and an earnest call for love and support.
I consider you a part of our family.
I have heard your story from close friends and strangers, and although in many ways distant, it is a blessing beyond words that you are still with us.
Now, prior to this I’ve had many conversations with my lovely friend and colleague Katie Burgess (Executive Director of TYSN) about my future beyond the “concrete chaos,” which includes my position at TYSN and how my position of leadership can bring a change to TYSN and how the “world” views (trans)women, for the better. And after reading the letter from Alexander, having this feeling of anger and sadness from the death of Kyra, it felt that I wanted to take on this challenge of being a leader now more than ever. It was fate that at the moment of having these feelings, I received a review packet of TYSN’s Leadership Program with all these wonderful ideas and solid policies. And of course, me being the optimistic and sometime overly-anxious person that I am, I was so charged to get to business.
And like any person with optimism, sometimes it can be scary and overwhelming, especially when it’s a job or craft that one enjoy and cherish, like this is for me. And I don’t know how to handle it, all these ideas and feelings and wanting to go all in. So I felt a little lost and had all these questions that felt unanswered. For me, I go to my faith which is anything spiritual. From prayer to yoga, I do it all. For this, I was drawn to my Tarot cards (thanks Kat!) and it seemed like they read into my soul and hit dead on. I asked the deck: “How does leadership and my future come together and how do I handle it, and is this where I should be (referring to being a leader)?” After I asked, I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths. I pulled four cards and laid them out. I opened my eyes and there was the Two of Bones (ed.: this card speaks to the magical nature of change, and life as a series of decisions to be made), the Instructor (aka the Hierophant) (ed.: this card reflects on institutions, hierarchies, and tradition; the image is of an instructor who has “created or inherited her institution and … is now devoted to maintaining it”), Mentor of Bottles (ed: The Mentor of Bottles represents a leader who acts with responsibility, mastery, experience, calm, and tolerance.), and The Code (ed.: This card speaks to the rules and structures that hold power in communities, which can benefit us as well as constrain us.).
After giving myself such a relevant and accurate reading, I know that this is where I belong (referring to being a leader). That most times in our lives we question our greatness, and sometimes feel that we won’t or can’t deal with the pressures of being leaders, to own the power to have authority and make changes, even if it’s what we want the baddest in life. And from the Leadership Development Program review, I know that our beliefs can be passed on and taught to our future leaders of the LGBTQI community. To have rights and a voice. To be able to walk in this world, not afraid and actually feel like a human being and not a shadow in a corner. At TYSN, we believe that our trans youth know themselves, believe in each other, can create the basis of respect by understanding our fears, are all teachers and learners all the time, that we are all mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons, but most importantly we are all worth it, worthy, beautiful, strong, more than a binary, are able to become self-actualized, can and have already succeeded as a person, and of course, leaders. We need to understand this now more than ever. We need to not only celebrate for Trans Day of Remembrance, but also become self-aware and ready to put an end to our community being the focus of violence. Of course it is more than important to recognize and pay homage to our fallen, but we also need to put our feet down and start being real leaders and making this stand. And personally speaking, if it’s true that this is my personal journey as a leader, I want to lead my troops to victory. I can’t continue to say “how bad” that another brother, sister, mother, father, partner, friend is gone from blind-hatred. From ignorance and discrimination.
I would have rather been punished for asserting myself than become another victim of hatred. No, I’m not saying violence is key or all people should react the way I did, but our communities, whether here or abroad, have become the victim of malicious and hateful crimes. We need to start now. Make your voices heard. Reach out to the lawmakers, hell get it to the president if we have to. But we need to stop and work from inside out. We need to find strong leaders who can handle the pressures of being just that. Also we need to stop “throwing so much shade” to each other. All that anger that we direct towards each other should be directed at its true source, the people who treat us badly. The politicians who act like we don’t exist and don’t focus on the rights and safety of the LGBTQI people, especially (trans)women. I would be lying if I said that I once wasn’t a shady girl, but now I am a woman who wants to be a role model and a leader for the (trans)woman of the 21st century. To be unmarginalized and recognized for who I am, and who we are: strong, wonderful, loving women, and that we are people. That femininity can be as, if not more, strong and resilient than masculinity. That we deserve the same rights as any heterosexual, cissexual, or any person who objects against our being. It kills me to know that a man, or any person with a penis, can get a “genital pump,” with medial insurance, but we as (trans)women have to struggle with costs for GRS and other trans related medical issues, some of which hare not even considerable for insurance coverage. Crazy, right?
So my proposal is for all the organizations who are for growth of the (trans) youth, for the growth of OUR communities and such, to now take a collaborative into effect. To connect and extend to other organizations. To start building leaders and making changed for the better. At TYSN we believe that we can bring the (trans) community together, that we can foster the creation of POWERFUL art, that we can change the world, that we can create empowerment, that we can work with existing systems and outside systems to create resources for self and community and importantly, that we can overcome adversity and build a whole, balanced, and successful life. And I know we want that for all our (trans)women around the world. We need for our mission to promote racial, social, and economic justice for trans youth, with freedom to self-define gender identity and expression. I love my people and I want us all to succeed. It won’t be long before I’m out and I want to be involved with all those who are willing to step up and get ready for a revolution, and it will not be televised!
Before I go I want to give a shout-out to Janet Mock, for shouting me out in her wonderful interview about trans issues and her life from Marie Claire with Colorlines. Thank you for being such a strong, successful, positive (trans) women and showing us in a non-typical and stereotypical idea in the media. Much love to you lady! xo
This will be it for now, and I’ll be sure to follow up on this and on my future leaders. TTYL my lovelies!
“If you can achieve the thought, you can make it happen!”