I spent much of the day as a proud African-American reveling in the sights, sounds and events of the second inauguration of President Obama that serendipitously occurred on Martin Luther King Jr, Day.
While watching the inaugural address, I felt a surge of pride that it was an African-American president bold enough to say the words that gay and lesbian Americans are cheering.
But at the same time I was saddened and more than keenly aware until he mentioned Stonewall that the trans community I’m a proud part of once again was the unspoken stepchild to this big inside-the-Beltway party.
The words of Ralph Ellison flashed in my mind as I read the comments of people reveling in the fact that [gays and lesbians were] mentioned and so was Stonewall. A Stonewall Rebellion mind you that wasn’t kicked off by Fire Island Mattachine gays, but POC transpeople like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson.
I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
And it broke my heart to read Sadie’s essay she wrote on that day reminding us exactly who we are fighting for when we seek to advance trans human rights coverage around the world.
We are invisible at times because the world refuses to see us for the men and women we actually are. Far too often that Ellison quote is true for the transpeople who share our ethnic heritage.
It’s time for us trans adults to get refocused on the multi-layered task of ensuring our humanity is respected and protected. We are fighting against the disrespect, erasure and dehumanization aimed at all of us regardless of our ethnic heritage.
We trans adults are fighting to ensure trans human rights coverage is permanently ensconced in the laws of the various countries we live in, and for the sake of our kids like Sadie and Jazz we can’t waver in that task until it is complete.
We are not only fighting for us, but for the transkids in elementary, middle and high schools in the United States and the world
We may not get to enjoy the benefits of the world Sadie and countless kids like her are dreaming about, but the fight we are engaged in is a necessary one on a variety of fronts. It’s necessary that it be done so we don’t see another essay or letter like this ten years from now from another transkid expressing their wish that they could just live a normal life.
– Monica Roberts
Monica Roberts, aka the TransGriot, is a native Houstonian and a trailblazing award winning trans community leader. In addition to participating in a long list of panel discussions and speaking engagements to various colleges, groups and conferences over the years in January 2006 she founded the award winning blog TransGriot.
*Cross-posted with permission. The piece originally appeared on TransGriot.