All the trans news that fits! (and some that never will)
Everywhere you looked in Michigan in 2015, it seemed like Trans folks were making a difference and clearing the way for equal rights and equity — not just for themselves, but for marginalized and under-served people in general.
But, the possibility for discrimination and violence remains a part of the Trans experience in Michigan, for some more than others.
If there is a ballot initiative in 2016, we must prepare ourselves to be as safe as we possibly can, and we will need to learn how and when to respond to the hurtful accusations thrown at us by those who fear Transgender people because they do not know Transgender people.
It is because so many in our own local communities and so many of our elected leaders don’t know us that we must continue in our efforts to meet them and talk to them where they are so they do get to know us. People don’t discriminate against people they know and like.
The Transgender Movement in Michigan is about Transgender people moving forward, and the good news is that we will eventually win the day. We will have equal rights and equity in Michigan if we keep working and staying positive.
And there are lots of examples of Trans people in Michigan doing this work right now. From Julisa Abad-thornton and Ashley in Highland Park and Bré Campbell and Ashton Niedzwiecki in Detroit to Stefani Danielle Vargas Harlan and Kel Craghead in Marquette, from Marcy Martinie in Holland to Crystal Marie Hubbard and Rebecca Jayne Veal in Flint, and from Anthony J. Kirk and Joelle Casteel in Midland to Nicole Mckayla-hope Tacey and Morgan Whitman in Bay City, and all the other beautiful, beautiful people who do so much of the heavy lifting in the Transgender Movement without ever complaining and ever once pounding their chests in pride — from their bravery and their tireless efforts, one simple truth emanates, and that is that Transgender people in Michigan are united in a visible and strong Transgender Movement.
This has not been easy work so far, and it isn’t going to get any easier. We need to try harder.
We need to try harder because we’re going to take a lot of hits in 2016, especially if there is a ballot initiative asking voters to approve equal rights for Transgender people and the LGBT community in general. All across this country, and especially here in Michigan, the words used against us will be nasty and mean spirited. We’ve heard it all before, but we need to prepare because the volume is going to be turned up quite a bit.
The best way to counter the negativity of those who are opposed to Transgender equality is to drown them out with positive messages. Those positive messages can only come from people who know us, and that is why it is so important that Transgender people and our allies continue to be visible and positive – and safe.
There are some who say that Transgender people in Michigan must be willing to stand up and take risks in the movement to gain our rights. It is hard to argue with that, but only we can make the choice to risk our jobs, our safety and our lives for the sake of Transgender rights.
The Transgender Movement in Michigan is about saving lives. Regardless of whether or not a ballot initiative passes in 2016, we must still convince our elected leaders to pass the kinds of laws that will protect our rights and our lives.
The Transgender Movement in Michigan is about joining with our neighbors and co-workers and local institutions in the effort to make our communities better places and safer for everyone.
Our movement is about building awareness, acceptance and respect.
To do otherwise will mean living in the same communities where we will continue to face the same ignorance and violence we have always faced.
Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming people in Michigan are not alone in this effort.
The Transgender Movement in Michigan is a vital part of the National Transgender Movement.
This is our Transgender Movement and this is our time.