Defending our Trans* Community
I am very angry about the brutal attack on Toledo, Ohio trans* activist Candice Rose Milligan.
But, for those of you who remember Republican Michigan State Senate candidate Gary Glenn's hate-filled comments during the Bay County Human Rights Ordinance hearings earlier this year, take a good look at the price we pay for being ourselves, for being who we are, and for wanting to make our world a better place.
To all those "Duck Dynasty", Confederate flag waving bigots who told the Bay County Commissioners that the only thing "cross-dressers" like me want is to sneak into bathrooms "for up to 14 minutes" so we could listen to women pee and then attack women and children, this is why your comments scare us. We're afraid that you will do this to us. That you will hunt us down and try to kill us. And, to all you parents and family members who abandon your transgender children, knowing that your children could be beaten, raped or killed as they seek out jobs and shelter, you should not be allowed to raise any children, ever. Period.
For all those faith leaders who believe that God has called on you and this country to get rid of transgender people like me, and Candice, and thousands of others, you should know that we were here before your religion was even dreamt of, and we do not plan on going away.
For you politicians who think that changing laws to ban discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation will do nothing to prevent attacks such as this, then why on earth are you even in office? What is your agenda?
For those who think people like me are just a bunch of "trannies having fun," kiss my cute little transgender ass. Candice Rose Milligan didn't deserve this, and neither do the thousands of transgender people who are beaten and murdered every year in this country. It's time we start acting like adults.
Finally, I want to caution the trans* community from heeding the call from those who think the solution is for us, our community, to carry concealed weapons. That is nothing more than saying that you want to arm yourselves for a shoot-out. Don't do it. We must remain true to who we are. Don't get tricked into believing that the solution is to do the same things you deplore in others. The answer is not violence.
The answer is a passionate peace that can only come from within each one of us. It doesn't mean we can't get angry, it doesn't mean that we need to step back into the shadows. It means we must keep pressing on. It means we must learn how to more effectively tell our stories, it means our allies must be called upon to do even more than we have already asked them to do when they have already done so much out of love. It means learning the strategies of civil disobedience. It means continuing to contribute in meaningful ways that enrich our communities.
It means learning how to be effective citizen lobbyists so we can convince lawmakers from city hall and county chambers, to state capitals and Washington, D.C. to change the laws to protect everyone in the United States from discrimination.
We have all the tools we need.
And Namaste, Candace Rose Milligan, namaste.
Charin Davenport is a poet, educator and activist. Write-in candidate for Delta College Board of Trustees in the 2014 election, she came in second. Photo of Candice Rose Milligan from the Toledo Blade.