Author Topic: Walnut Creek, CA. Transgender Day of Visibility speech  (Read 1362 times)

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Walnut Creek, CA. Transgender Day of Visibility speech
« on: March 31, 2018, 07:25:06 pm »
Speech: Transgender Day of Visibility   
March 31, 2018   
Michelle Jean Paquette   

Why do we have a Day of Visibility?  Each of us are already visible every day!

I’ve made a decision to be out and visible.  Hiding made me uncomfortable, and my hope is that through my visibility I can educate others, provide a positive image of transgender people, and make others like me more comfortable with being themselves.  So, why do we have a special day of visibility?

On this special day, we celebrate all of our stories, stories of joy, of creativity, of change.  Stories of sadness, of conflict, of perseverance and justice.  Our visibility carries risks, but it also carries the potential for great rewards.  With our visibility, our stories,  we make it a little easier for that next trans person to express their truth.

It is us, as a population, that is only now becoming truly visible to our greater society.

Oh, we’ve been visible as stereotypes for a long time.  A LGBTQ media organization, GLAAD, cataloged how we are portrayed in popular entertainment. We’re victims and villains, the hooker with a heart of gold dead in Act 3.  Accurate and favorable depictions are rare.  We are often described in derogatory or offensive terms.

That’s not us, of course.  Where are the trans engineers, architects, and writers?  The trans lawyers and playwrights?  The politicians?  We certainly exist, and within our little community we can readily point these out, but society at large hasn’t caught on yet that we are people, real people and not stereotypes. 

This is where visibility comes in.  Civil rights for marginalized peoples are not won until the society at large sees them as real, sympathetic people, not stereotypes.

We saw this recently with the gay and lesbian community, and the humanizing effect of the “Love is Love” campaign.  We need a similar way to humanize the face of the transgender population, to move us from stereotypes to be feared or mocked, to human beings that can elicit sympathy.

This is why we are here.  This is why we are visible today.

Dr. King taught us:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Our visibility brings the light, to dispel the tropes and stereotypes that hide us, that let society ignore us as being less than real.

Dr. King also reminds us:
“Hate cannot drive out hate.  Only love can do that.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

We gather, united by love; love of self; love of friends and family; love of community; love of our country.  We are people, capable of love, and not caricatures or stereotypes to be cast aside as uncomfortable.  While there are those that hate us, seek to deny our validity, even our existence, we cannot retaliate with hate.  Hatred and violence only incite more hatred and violence. Love, of ourselves, of others, loving kindness and acceptance with our allies, will show our society that we too are human, real people living real lives, worthy of life, and not readily discarded caricatures.

One of Shakespeare’s characters, tired of being marginalized, said:
“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?”
- The Merchant of Venice,  Act III, scene I, by William Shakespeare

So it is with us.  We ask only to be treated as other people, our existence accepted rather than denied, able to use the same basic services as everyone else, and live our lives without fear of being targets of violence and hatred.

Thank you.

Offline TonyaW

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Re: Walnut Creek, CA. Transgender Day of Visibility speech
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2018, 08:07:04 pm »

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Re: Walnut Creek, CA. Transgender Day of Visibility speech
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2018, 08:37:34 pm »
Outstanding, Michelle! Very thoughtful presentation. Each time I read of you making  presentation,  I think of your courage and hope that I can have half that as I progress in my life.


Offline LizK

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Re: Walnut Creek, CA. Transgender Day of Visibility speech
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 09:19:56 pm »
Brilliant...well done