Monday, January 18, 2010

To be an activist

A couple weeks ago at group [this has been percolating for a while in what passes for my thot processes] we got on the subject of demonstrations and, peripherally, activism. I had to put my 2 cents [tho with inflation it might be worth less or even worthless] in on the topic. In responding, I realized I had to be careful how I expressed myself because I was making my first ever statement claiming to be an Activist and I knew at the time I am going to be responsible for my words.

Before, I supported the civil rights of all people and conservation. Skin color, religious practice, sexual orientation, or gender presentation. Well, I gotta be honest, I have discriminated against New York Yankee fans. Or maybe it's just the Steinbrenners. I will also confess to gritting my teeth while muttering, "Christian Right Republicans have civil rights, too." And while I always voted my beliefs, that was the extent my support. I never called, wrote, emailed any of my elected officials. I have not written any "letters to the editor," or called a radio talk show to make my support or opinions clear. I have only reacted to statements of discrimination in conversations around me. I have never been particularly proactive or even active in civil rights or conservation issues.

Since I started to live a more authentic life last summer, I have been physically and emotionally involved in the Equality March in Seattle and the Transgender Remember Our Dead event at the University of Washington. In those cases, I was a part of a group that was making a civil rights statement. I was an activist, but I wouldn't say I was conscious in my everyday life of being active in statements about civil rights or ecological issues.

That Wednesday night, I found myself making a statement of my manner of carrying into action the activism I am called to. And I know I am called. It starts with being as "out" as I can be. I am not in your face, but I will not hide. I shall live my life as honestly and as openly, as authentically as I can. I will answer all serious questions and many rhetorical questions to the best of my ability. In public, I am trying to live my life as the woman, actually the lesbian, next door. I am being an activist by being myself where people can see me and interact with me. I am trying to be myself, an example of a normal human being. I am hoping that people who see me, when in a conversation about gays, lesbians, bi and transgendered people, will say, "Well, I know this transgendered woman, she's a lesbian, and she's really nice." And that is the response I have gotten from people at the Tully's I visit for my wifi. I did not tell any one but the baristas know and so do several of the regular customers who come in. They have learned that I am nothing and nobody to be afraid of. When I find work again, I will be just as out, I will have no secrets from the people I work with.

This is a small and inauspicious start as an activist, but I'd like to think that Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi would smile and nod their heads at my becoming more intentional as an everyday activist.


  1. Living as your authentic self- and being true to yourself in a gentle, Christian way- is the best form of activism through example. I'm even reminded of Dr. King's words:

    Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.

  2. Nice post, Mom. =)

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with just living life authentically and by example. I have never been the "in your face" kind of Christian even before transition. Well, I take that back, in High school, I was probably a little "in your face" with the fact that I didn't like swearing but I stopped doing that in later years because it was just that, "in your face".

    I just hope that by living as a woman and having people that know me and see I'm a normal woman, for the most part, is HUGE. Society will make leaps and bounds if we all can even just do that. Heck look at my work, that will be ~30 people who will get to see me go through transition and see that I'm still a normal (pretty normal, anyway) person.

  3. Liz-> Thank you... I read the Martin Luther King quote n you blog I am glad you posted it again here. I reread it and understood it much better, this time. And following Dr. King's example is a high calling.

    Jerica->living as an "out" Christian wasn't something I did well. Seems like so much of my life has been i n one closet or the other. But I hope tha being out and authentic as a transgender lesbian woman might also bring my inner Christian out too.