I feared this day would come. Part of me knew that it would. When James Dobson laments at the passing of the “good old days” when men would murder trans women like me simply for using the restroom, how can it not? How can it not?
Every Sunday morning, I spend two hours dancing in community, dancing to release our demons and our joy. I am grateful I was able to go there this morning and dance my grief and my rage. I sobbed and I moved and I thought. And I wrote these words
And the Earth Screamed
And the earth screamed.
It screamed in pain and grief.
It cried out at the loss of hope.
WHERE has hope gone?
I am a child of the fifties.
I grew up with the hope of JFK, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.
The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act.
The War on Poverty, not drugs.
A time when I believed that compassion was becoming stronger than hate.
A time when we seemed to be reaching that place Bayerd Rustin spoke of, when the expression of hate & bigotry becomes socially unacceptable.
But hate never left.
And that time is gone.
NOW, hate is celebrated.
NOW, discrimination, bigotry, even violence merely brings comments that we deserve what we get.
I do not want to live in this world anymore.
THIS is not the world I dreamed of.
I want to rage!
I want to take the power of this moment to redouble my passion to change the world.
I hope that moment comes.
But THIS is not that moment.
Now I weep.
And then I thought of rage.*
Burn It Down!
I want to cry “BURN IT DOWN!”
I … want to BURN IT DOWN!
I imagine there is pleasure in unrestrained rage.
There must be since there is so much of it in our world today.
But the “but” enters even before the thought of rage is finished.
I. AM. NOT. THAT!
MY journey has been one of truth and love, not gender.
I will NOT change that now.
What I WILL do, I do not know.
But I will not surrender to hate or fear.
YOU WANT ME?!
COME AND GET ME!
I will stand here always.*
This morning, a friend asked, “Why do we do these things to each other?” I responded, “There is no why.” There is no logic in hate. Hate just is.
Still, our community is learning how to combat the negative messages that are used against us, and that knowledge is being applied right here in Arizona. National organizations like the Movement Advancement Project, Equality Federation, and Freedom for All Americans have selected four cities to put those lessons to work. One of those cities is Scottsdale, because polling data show that Scottsdale is ripe for a change of attitude about LGBTQ people and the rights we deserve.
So, those organizations and Arizona organizations like the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, Equality Arizona, and One Arizona Community, are joining together in a SUMMER OF ACTION to begin the process of educating Arizonans about who we are, one by one at their doorsteps. We hope to have thousands of those conversations before the summer is over. And once we’re done with Scottsdale, SAGA at least wants to take this campaign to the rest of Arizona, including Tucson.
Soon, SAGA will be posting information on how you can become involved in this effort to change Arizona to be a safer and more loving place for LGBTQ people. We hope you will join us. It won’t be easy. But it will be powerful and more than worthwhile.
Together we can change the world so that what happened in Orlando never happens again.
* Because I was asked to shorten my remarks in the interests of time, I did not read Burn It Down! at last night’s vigil. I include it here because it reflects my thoughts on that tragic day.