This is the text of a speech given by executive director HB Lozito at our Trans Justice Rally in Brattleboro October 25, 2018. Following news of a leaked memo from the Department of Health & Human Services.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for standing together to let everyone know that here in Brattleboro, in Southern Vermont, in Northern New England, rural and small town folks won’t stand for these kinds of attacks on anyone in our community. When they come for one of us, they come for all of us. And this is an incredible showing of belief in that and in the power of community today. So thank you.
Thank you to all the trans folks who came last night and made all of these brilliant signs and who gathered together in community to laugh and rage in the face of this brutal news.
In the shadow of something looming so large, when it’s hard to know what potentially awful fresh hell the U.S. Government will be lobbing against us in the coming years and decades, it can be so easy in these moments to feel and be stopped in our tracks. But we will not be halted on the road to justice! We must ask ourselves what can we do when faced with invalidation of our identities, bodies, and lives?
We can know that our validation comes from so many other places than the State. Our worth comes from us, from our community both on the internet and IRL, from our families chosen and of origin. We are so much more than the sum of the letters on our government issued IDs.
We can RUN for office and VOTE. Not just for those running for national or statewide office, vote for people you want to represent you as Town Meeting Reps, as Selectboard members, as State’s Attorneys, and as Weighers of Coal. OK, Weighers of Coal may be less important but if that’s what gets you to the polls, great! Our local and state-based protections and power becoming even more important as these frankly really scary and very real restrictions come down from the Federal level.
As our fabulous Brattleboro Selectboard member, Brandie Starr says, a budget is a moral document. We must get involved in our school and town budget processes so that the sizable resources of our towns go to pay for the things we value and to create the future we want to see.
If you’re here from Massachusetts or know anyone in MA (I’m sure we all do!) we can tell every person in MA to VOTE YES on 3 to continue protecting trans people in that state.
You can let the trans people in your life know that you love us. And not just when this government-related news flares up. We know that being a trans person in this world can be a challenge every day regardless of the news. As the brilliant Ashley Lordes Hunter of the Trans Women of Color Collective often says, “every breath a trans person takes is an act of revolution.” Remember that and hold up the trans folks in your life.
We can donate money, time, and other resources to trans-led organizations like GMC, like Trans Lifeline, Trans Justice Funding Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and many others.
We can support and care for trans elders like Miss Major (whose birthday is TODAY!) who was here with us in April and like Ben Power of the Sexual Minority Archives in Holyoke, whose wisdom and guidance we need so very much at this time.
We must remember that Trans people have always been here, and that we will always be here.
And lastly, to the other trans folks here, let’s also hold each other up. We in the LGBTQ+ community are experts at tearing each other down. Now is the time to lovingly support each other, to foment our rage together, and to work on pulling each other through this wild time together emerging from the other side more powerful than ever.