Trans Talk with Connor
—Connor Maddocks has been a civil rights advocate in the San Diego transgender community for years. He does trainings on legal and personal transition information. He continues his work, even though he is now retired. Contact Conner at Neon411@gmail.com.
On Sept. 28, the very first trans march on Washington D.C. became a reality. What was the march all about? Its Facebook page has this to say, “Members of the transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary communities (TGNC/NB) will be taking a major stand against hate and discrimination when they rally in the nation’s Capital for the first-ever National Trans Visibility March (NTVM) on Washington, D.C., Sept. 28, 2019.”
“The National Trans Visibility March is of critical importance at this time. With the Equality Act of 2019 being threatened by the Senate and the trans military ban implementation, there is a need to mobilize America to recognize and fight for the rights of TGNC/NB people. Although the current administration has intentionally rolled back efforts to prevent inclusion of transgender communities in the U.S. census, individuals from the TGNC/NB communities have mobilized and issued a call to action to dismantle the social structures that have oppressed and disenfranchised the TGNC/NB community.”
I spoke with one of our own community members Raul Robles, who was at the march, and here is how he described it.
“We arrived on Oct. 27 at night before the Torch Awards. On Oct. 28, in the morning, we were transported to Freedom Plaza. Young people began to arrive, complete families, we were an immensely large family, and everything was joy. It was a total success of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people in this first march. For my part, I was very pleased to meet many siblings since I was making the frames for Facebook profile pictures.”
While we were talking about it, Raul shared, “The frame became the official frame for the March, I made about 400 or more.”
The frame he made for the march says #March4TransEquality, Marcha Nacional de Visibilidad Trans, using the blue, pink and white trans colors.
“I woke up at 3 a.m. to moderate the trans D.C. march with excitement while nervously watching the map light up with posts. A few photos roll in of folks getting ready along with their signs and flags. Then [the] livestream kicks on and we’re watching the community coming together on a stage in D.C. while the crowd starts to swell with energy. It was in that moment, as goosebumps gathered on my skin and fell across my body, I realized not one post with our hashtag was hateful, it was powerful to be visible and loved by the internet. It gives me hope to know we, as a community, when we work together are some of the most powerful humans on this earth and that folks whom aren’t like us can see we are human, too.”
This inaugural march on Washington, which I so badly wanted to attend, was a first step for my community to find its voice, not any voice but the big one — the one everyone hears from sea to shining sea. It’s been a long time coming, but our black trans women are being murdered at an alarming rate, from coast to coast, and other members of our community are also being murdered. We need a voice. We need supporters who believe we are a people worth saving. We need news stations that do primetime stories on our issues, not just Matthew Shepard, or children of famous stars that are trans. So far this year, we have lost 21 trans or nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people this year.
We need to be visible and we need to have people out there who care about us. We need to have community members like Raul and Ivan who are willing to be proud and out loudly. That is what visibility is all about. We cannot expect allies, or soldiers of human rights or judges and lawmakers to stand with us, unless we can show who we are, how many we are.
But what I truly love about this march is what I have heard and seen in some pictures. These people are happy, happy to see how strong they really are.
There is such power in that statement. To my siblings, I tell you to take it and run with it. Stand up and be counted next year for the census. Stand up and be who you are. Make sure to pull up our quieter folks with you if they are willing and give them hope and strength as well. Help our black trans women be safe. Come together as a community and keep each other safe, give a hand up and show some love, not hate.