DEAR STONEWALL, PLEASE STOP EXPLOITING OUR DEAD!

November 18, 2010 ·

I’m pissed. Every year I write this post. EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN YEAR. You just can’t help but feed off the dead. You did it in 2007, in 2008, and 2009, and you’re doing it again this year. What am I talking about? Every year I do a post about a group that is either exploiting or misusing the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Today after reading Gwen Smith’s  “Dancing on Graves” on the subject, I get this in my email:

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance – a day when we remember all the lives tragically lost to violence against transgender or gender variant people around the world. It’s also a day that we recommit to including the “T” in LGBT in our quest for full equality. We do have reason for hope: the Obama Administration appointed Amanda Simpson, an out trans woman from Arizona, to the Commerce Department. The Administration took action on behalf of the trans community with an executive ruling that allows passports to be dependent on gender identity, not on gender reassignment surgery status.  Also, we also have visible transgender staffers on the Hill, including Diego Rivera, legislative assistant for Rep. Barney Frank. These pioneers and actions give hope and inspiration to trans and gender variant people around the country – and the world. I am very proud of the fact that, as a transwoman, I have been able to serve as a Board Co-Chair for the National Stonewall Democrats, to have served in various leadership positions in Stonewall-affiliated clubs in New York City, and to have been the first trans person elected to office in New York. I am not alone at Stonewall: among other trans women and men in leadership roles through the organization’s history, Babs Casbar Siperstein serves as the Co-Chair for NSD’s Political Action Committee; she is also the first transgender member of the Democratic National Committee. As an organization, we value the transgender members of the Stonewall family in affiliates all over the country, many of them in club leadership. I am proud to be a transgender woman. I am proud to be a Democrat. And I am especially proud to be a Stonewall Democrat and to be involved in making sure that equality means every member of the LGBT community, working tirelessly on issues like a trans-inclusive (commonly called ‘fully inclusive) Employment Non-Discrimination Act, for example. We’re not there yet, but I know that with your full engagement, we will see full equality for all of us soon. Finally, join me in taking a moment to quietly remember those we’ve lost to violence, hatred and bigotry because of transphobia or because someone didn’t conform to gender stereotypes. And then join me – and National Stonewall Democrats – in working to make sure that those numbers shrink every year. With great appreciation, Melissa Sklarz Melissa Sklarz Co-Chair, National Stonewall Democrats

First of all, today isn’t the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). It’s actually on November 20th, 2010. Secondly, I guess that Diego Sanchez was fired and Diego Rivera was hired by Representative Barney Frank.  All Latino transmen look the same  anyway, right? But these obviously sloppy mistakes aside, the message is clear. It’s sad people died for being who they are,  SUPPORT THE STONEWALL DEMOCRATS.  It’s really a tragedy what happened to these people, SUPPORT STONEWALL DEMOCRATS. Remember all the good things we did for transgender people, SUPPORT STONEWALL DEMOCRATS. No it’s not a day to recommit to trans-equality. It’s a day TO MOURN OUR FALLEN, PERIOD.  It’s not a day to raise money for your political organization. It doesn’t need to be anything more than it already is. Mourning our dead is important enough. If attorneys are ambulance chasers, you’re being hearse chasers.  Please just stop.

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