Wednesday, July 8, 2020

100 miles for Trans-gendered Rights

So today is July 8th and I have had a few days to think about my June miles.  Along with time to think, I have really been enjoying not forcing myself to get in a run daily.  I love rest days!

I currently have a student who is sharing her journey through the transiting process via her social media.  She has shared some hate that has blown her way.  At one point, she shared a tweet asking if her life mattered?  As a Black Trans-gendered Woman, her life is in so much danger.  I'll remind you that in 2019 - the Human Rights Campaign reported that of the 26 murders they reported, 90% of those were Black Trans-gendered Women.

I spent the month of June trying to educate myself and learn what I can do to make this world a safer place for all LGBTQIA folx but especially Black Trans-gendered Women.  Just like working on making myself less racists, I had to start with what do I know, what have I been taught, and forgive myself for falling short for so long.

Much like my anti-racist self-work, I started with Netflix.  I binged watched Pose.  I cheered for Blanca.  I danced with Damon.  I cried with Pray Tell.  I tried to understand what it is about being Gay and Black that is so wrong and what made being trans-gendered and Black so dangerous.  I still have so many questions.  I have next to no answers.  After watching, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, I felt privileged.  Not just in my cis-gendered, heterosexual female-ness but because I know and have known trans-gendered people.  

Disclosure opened my eye to the privilege of actually knowing someone who was trans.  If I remember correctly, 95% of Americans have never met a person who is trans-gendered.  My experience with trans-gendered people is as a teacher/librarian.  I have worked with students who eventually disclosed themselves as trans.  So my experience has been watching people bloom into adults who are happy in their own skin.  Who wouldn't want that for people?  Why would you want people to hurt and hide?

The "what" makes life as a Black Transgender Woman so dangerous still feels so nebulous.  As best as I can glean, the hate is rooted in power.  This group, Black-Trans-Women, has the least power so other people who feel less powerful exert their frustrations on them.  Will the police protect them?  If they don't have "family" who will fight for them?  Did you know that they can be denied health care by medical professionals if the "professional" feels it is against their religious beliefs to be trans!?  This group is completely on the fringe of society.  Alone, abused, powerless and the rest of us laugh when someone makes a "tranny" joke.  I want to punch myself for all of the times I said nothing.

Transgendered women are real women.  If you are a man who is attracted to a transwoman, you are not gay because that is a woman you are attracted too.  But also, there is nothing wrong with being gay so get over that!  We all need to work to make this world safer.  If we make it safer for Trans Women, then it is safer for all women.  I have two daughters and I want them to be safe but first, we have to make sure those with the least power are protected.  

This is the list of each person I honored on my June journey:
June 1 - Dana Martin
June 2 - Monika Diamond
June 3 - Tony McDade
June 4 - Nina Pop
June 5 - Jazzaline Ware
June 6 - Ashanti Carmon
June 7 - Claire Legato
June 8 - Muhlaysia Booker
June 9 - Michelle Tamika Washington
June 10 - Paris Cameron
June 11 - Chynal Lindsey
June 12 - Chanel Scurlock
June 13 - Dominique Remmie Fells and Riah Milton
June 14 - Zoe Spears
June 15 - Brooklyn Lindsey
June 16 - Dena Liberries Stuckey
June 17 - Tracy Single
June 18 - Bubba Walker
June 19 - Kiki Fantroy
June 20 - Pebbles Ledime Doe
June 21 - Bailey Reeves
June 22 - Jamagio Jamar Berryman
June 23 - Itali Marlowe
June 24 - Brianna BB Hill
June 25 - Yahira Nesby
June 26 - Mia Perry
June 27 - Layleen Polanco
June 28 - Kenna Mattel AKA Kelly Stough
June 29 - Tydida Nasbury
June 30 - To the unknown, unreported, misgendered Trans-gendered murder victims
 
Say their names.  Honor their memories with work.  Each person listed was a human being.  Straight people, we need to do more.

P.S. - I am working on being a better ally.  If I have misspoken, please help correct me.  Sometimes we have to say the wrong thing before we can get right.




Wednesday, June 24, 2020

#PrideMonth Challenge - 1 mile everyday in memory of a murdered #transgender person

The month of June is usually "Pride" month; a month when the LGBTQIA community celebrates their history as a community and hosts events and parades to celebrate all things LGBTQIA.

This month I challenged myself to walk a minimum of 1 mile each day in memory of a murdered transgender person.  I have been using the work of the Human Rights Campaign.  They track the murders can publish a list as well as release a yearly report on the status of the transgender community.

While I knew people who are trans have a harder time in the general population than perhaps the rest of the LGBTQIA community, the numbers are staggering.  In 2019, there were 26 known murders of transgender people.  Of those 91% were Black women.  81% were under the age of 30.  Maybe less surprising, 65% were in the South.  

So what?  Why focus on transgender people?  Well simply, it matters.  Trans lives matter.  I have taught and worked with several people who transitioned or identify outside of cis-gendered norms.  Of those students, there isn't a single one that I believe is an extra or unworthy human life and therefore would be okay to murder.  If the Black Lives Matter has taught me anything, it is that silence equals implied consent.  I will not stay silent.  Transgender Lives Matter!

On June 21, I did my walk in memory of Baily Reeves, who was only 17 when she was murdered for being transgendered.  Her mother reached out to me the next day and thanked me for walking in her memory.  Honestly, I cried when I saw the message.  She took time out of her day to thank me.  Like my 5k walk is really as close to nothing as I can do and yet the small gesture seemingly meant a lot to her.  Her little girl was not completely forgotten.  

I have done 24 walks equaling 80 miles or so.  I have listed 25 names (I did 2 on one post) and there are still names to go.  I'm focused on all Black trans people murdered in 2020 and 2019.  The list is too long.  Our silence is way too loud.  


Monday, June 22, 2020