Of legislation, death, justice and loveTrans Progressive Thursday, February 4th, 2016
Commentary: Trans Progressive
This week an editorial from The Indianapolis Star found its way first into my email box, then my Facebook feed, entitled It’s not complicated — pass LGBT rights. Well, maybe if you live in California, but not in Indiana. One of the main problems the Hoosier state legislators are having with their civil rights bills is with transgender people. As Senate leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) elsewhere stated, “The ‘T’ (in LGBT) is a stumbling block at the moment.” State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) “heard concerns” from peer lawmakers, as well as constituents, then took the position that transgender protections should be tabled, then studied at a summer committee. Which, of course, would mean there would be a lot of years between LGB civil rights and T civil rights in the state.
Not that any of the Indiana bills proposed weren’t flawed; the bills all had huge religious exemption carve-outs that make them all troublesome bills to begin with.
There’s a quote from suffragist Alice Paul that seems to apply: “I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.” That said, when it comes to legislation, there’s nothing ordinary about ordinary equality.
In a piece written for The Advocate by Alison Gill and Brynn Tannehill entitled A User’s Guide to This Year’s Transphobic Legislation, they began by mentioning there were 20 pieces of anti-transgender legislation in 2015, but this year there are 28 pieces – so far. I didn’t need to find that story in my Facebook feed on Groundhog Day. The sheer number of bills year to year in some way reflects the “history repeating itself” aspect of the 1993 Bill Murray comedy by that name, but this story comes with none of the laughter.
Yet another item that found its way into my Facebook feed was the first reported transgender homicide this year. Monica Loera was shot to death early the morning of Jan. 22 in Austin, Texas. The Austin Police Department did what police departments often do, and identified Monica by her birth name, not the name she used in her day-to-day life. The transgender community didn’t even know they lost one of their own until Monica had been dead for about a week.
The alleged killer has already been arrested for first degree murder.
Closer to home in Baldwin Park, Stephen Justin Gonzales was found guilty of first degree murder in the slaying of trans woman Melony Smith in 2013. When Gonzales is sentenced Feb. 11, he’ll be facing 25-to-life for her murder.
Some justice, anyway, to read about in my email inbox. It doesn’t bring Melony back though.
Another story I’m thinking about that flew into my email inbox and Facebook feed was a story about a transgender Girl Scout named Stormi. According to BuzzFeed, Stormi was selling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door in her neighborhood when she knocked on one door three blocks away from her home. A man opened the door, and after she made her pitch, he told her, “Nobody wants to buy cookies from a boy in a dress.”
Stormi didn’t react well to that. She cried to her foster mom Kim. Her foster mother and she moved her sales online to the Girls Scouts’ Digital Cookie, and Stormi wrote, “At my request my family will donate boxes to local foster kids like me!” And then Kim passed the story of Stormi’s experience to a trans family support site, and from there it went viral around social media. By Jan. 28, she’d sold more than 3,000 boxes of cookies; I know I bought a couple of boxes from her.
Stormi is going to remember the unkind thoughts of that man three blocks away from her home, but she’s also going to remember how the community rose up to send her love.
And that’s just what I want to think about at the end of this week: hope and love. I read so many articles on so many LGBT and trans-specific issues, that sometimes I forget that not all of them end badly. At the end of the day or week, there’s still room for love.
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=67878