They are Not Transgender Rights

They are not transgender rights. They are human rights for people who happen to be transgender or gender non-conforming (TGNC).
    Human rights. Civil rights. American rights. Kansas rights. Rights that belong to every person on the planet by virtue of the fact that we exist. No person, no city, no state, and no country can give us our rights. They can either recognize our rights or not. And they do deny our rights.
    So, in the truth of things, I am not fighting for our rights. They belong to us. I am, along with a multitude of others, trying to get the monsters who are denying our rights to stop doing so.
    We live in a state that has made a choice to deny the rights of people who are TGNC. We live in a country where the federal government is now doing the same thing. We live in a world where the rights of TGNC human beings are trampled routinely - often violently - and the world seems to do everything in its power to forget the fact that we are human beings.
    You can tell that we are human beings by our beating hearts, by our tear-filled eyes, by our broken souls.
    You can also tell that by our resilience, by our resistance, and by the revelations of our true spirits.
    And you can tell it by our refusal to give up, by the ever-growing group of other human beings who see us as human beings, and who are coming forward in ever-growing numbers to say so.
    They are also not transgender issues.
    They are issues that affect human beings who are trans and gender non-conforming. Please don’t give credit for these issues to the people who are not allowed to live openly, to the victims of this ongoing crime against humanity.
    They are not our issues. They are issues that belong to people, cities, states, and countries; to a world that far-too-often fails to see us as human beings.
    The good news is that the world is changing, albeit begrudgingly and slowly.
    And I still believe that we will see the end of legalized discrimination against transgender Americans in my lifetime - the end of legalized discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans.
    So, as I learn to speak and write more effectively about the issues that affect TGNC Americans, I try to choose words like Americans, Kansans, citizens, and human beings.
    Rights that are being denied to transgender citizens.
    Issues that affect gender non-conforming human beings.
    Because, we are citizens and we are human beings.
    You can tell that by our beating hearts, by our tear-filled eyes, by our broken souls. By our resilience, by our resistance, and by the revelations of our true spirits. And you can tell that by our refusal to give up. l

StephanieMott-7Stephanie Mott is a transgender woman from Topeka. She is the executive director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, and a commissioner on the City of Topeka Human Relations Commission. Reach her at stephanieequality@yahoo.com.

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