A PFLAG Mom's Remarks...
...at the 4th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20, 2005) a time when we remember those in the transgender community that have been murdered simply for living their lives as a transgender and/or gender non-conforming person - MCC Chapel, Hartford, CT
My name is Donna. I am honored to have been invited to speak here today. I do so as an ally, a friend, a nurse, a citizen and a mother. I have a wonderful transgendered son who quite fortunately is alive and well.
I discovered when preparing my remarks today that I have nothing profound or innovative to say. Nothing provocative or earth-shattering.
But then I realized that that may be because we already know the answers. We already understand the solutions, and we - each one of us - already have the power to to make enormous changes, to touch, improve and even save lives in small, one on one ways that we may not even recognize.
Assuming that bigotry, hatred, ignorance and violence all start somewhere inside each misguided individual - we can surely see that the potential for change, for peace, acceptance, tolerance and love must also exist for everyone - somewhere.
Hatred has to be taught - therefore, it can be untaught. Love is always stronger and more powerful. These words may sound like lofty clichés, naïve in their simplicity. Perhaps. But philosophers and scholars have made these points before, and if we have forgotten or dismissed them, then they need to be said again. They are no less important or true just because I am the one now saying them.
We could understandably be filled with anger, fear and rage over the victimization of members of our own community. Those are real and valid emotions, but we must be empowered by that rage, rather than further victimized by it. We know discrimination exists - globally, nationally and locally. The laws are unjust and our own government does not fully respect or protect our rights. We must use our anger to make changes, and we have that power in big and small ways.
I could live in fear that my own treasured son might be harassed, threatened, beaten or killed - just for being himself. Of course, he is at risk. But I REFUSE TO DO THAT. I WILL NOT LIVE IN FEAR. I have the power to proudly proclaim my own existence, and his. I have the daily opportunity to positively support, inform, listen and learn, and to matter-of-factly educate others about queer issues - especially transgender issues. YOU HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY TOO - TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT EVERY CHANCE YOU GET!
I have some credibility because I have walked the walk with my own child. It has been the most enriching journey of my life. I also clearly have an obligation to talk the talk. The way we all co-exist, simply one-on-one, unconditionally accepting and learning from each other, has an unending capacity to stop the hate, the fear and the violence.
Ask yourself, "Where else should it start but within ME?"
We are all in this together, and we can clearly see that it has never been more true that "ONE TOUCH OF SORROW MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD KIN."