Thursday, July 03, 2014

because Trans Rights are Human Rights

This last Friday the trans community held its sixth annual Trans March.  Not only that, this was the first Trans March ever during a WorldPride!  But before going on, maybe I should unpack this a bit for some of you?

a march for who?

The Trans March is actually very inclusive and goes beyond a simple interpretation of trans, welcoming transgender, transsexual, intersex, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, gender independent, non-binary, third gender, two-spirit, and bigender people.  I'm afraid I can't give you a definition for each (and I'm sure I'd need way more than a few lines to make sure I defined each properly), but basically this serves a big community that would become invisible or would not feel sufficiently acknowledged were they only to march during what is commonly seen as the "lesbian march" (the Dyke March) or the "gay parade" (the Annual Pride Parade). 

but why?

I sort of answered this before: because of the need for visibility.   Trans people (trans being understood as an umbrella term for the many different identities I mentioned before) suffer the most discrimination of all non-straight people.  While some societies have made great strides in achieving acceptance for gay, lesbian and bi people, acceptance for people who do not conform to a rather rigid gender binary (man - woman) is, for the most part, still lacking in general.   So, in fact, this is a real politically charged march - people still face violence, aggression, work discrimination, homelessness, and this serves as a reminder of the basic humanity of us all, of the responsibility for a civilized society to embrace all its members and protect them, of the rich diversity of human identity, and of the simple fact that trans rights are undeniably human rights.

So, now that we've clarified that... back to the main post!

Also, let me add that this is probably my favourite Pride event.  The Trans March reminds us - while being surrounded by partying and celebrations all around - that we have most definitely not arrived to our destination yet.  That there is still a lot of work to do.  That diversity makes us stronger.  That we need to open our minds more.  That homelessness amongst LGBTQ people is rampant and unacceptable.  That we have the right to be who we are.  And that though for many people being themselves requires courage, determination and pain, there must also be an option for being yourself surrounded by love, acceptance and support.  For what do we gain by not having people live fully, freely and happily?

Like on other occasions, I stood there (this time with my partner and a close friend).  I cheered.  I applauded.  I felt moved.  I felt exhilarated.   And I feel my pictures can do zero justice to the importance and energy of this march.  I offer them a simple document, along with my most profound respect and a special thanks for all I've learned thanks to trans people in my life.

left: parent with child
centre left and far right: transmen (one with "100% FTM" drawn on torso)
centre right: proud mom

"everyone deserves a safe bed"
"#endLGBTQ2 homelessness WP14"
"There is NO Pride in Homelessness"

"There's a richness to our experience"

"Stonewall was a Riot. Now we need a Revolution.  Smash capitalism - build socialism."    

"My Pride includes Trans and Gender-queer"
"Transphobia sucks - and not in a good way"

"There is another spectrum under the rainbow"

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