Trans women marched too
The revolutionary affair that saw millions from across the globe and all walks of life marching mere days ago is hardly a forgettable one. There was protest, there was beauty, there was sisterhood and love, but most importantly there was a focus on the marginalised that has been in dire need in these times of receding humanity. However, in the revolution in which the world has been swept up, there is a glaring lack of recognition that I cannot help feeling familiarly disheartened at.
Despite the fact that the word ‘intersectional’ has been poised on the lips of the many this past few days, it seems that few understand the extent of this word’s inclusive implications. To be intersectional is to focus, to actively engage, and to band together to create a sturdy platform, upon which we let those pushed the lowest down stand up high and be heard.
And so, to have to search with such dedication and diligence, even for mere mentions of trans rights and transgender women’s involvement in the march, is something that experience has led me to expect, but that disappoints me nonetheless.
It is in the words of trans women that I, as a transgender individual, have often found the most wisdom and strength. The few speeches from them that I have been able to find from the marches are no exception. Janet Mock’s beautiful speech was one which contained a powerful recognition of the importance of unity and need for sustained action, and had the eloquence and inclusivity to warrant praise such as that which was granted to speakers such as Gloria Steinem, and other cisgender speakers. And yet, it is a speech which gets less air time than celebrity sightings at the march, and one which I only came across following active searching.
We who demand freedom for the oppressed all have a right and responsibility to be outraged by the issues at the forefront of the women’s march, such as those concerning female reproductive rights and the disturbingly widespread acceptance of sexual assault. But it cannot stop there. Trans women – especially trans women of colour – are hunted, attacked, and imposed upon by law and inhumane individuals. To deny them the far-reaching power of the platform that has been granted to other women is a declaration of the failings of the modern-day feminist revolution – and all of us who are not trans women have to take responsibility for this.
So please, from now – do not forget trans women, whose day-to-day living requires more courage than any of us could understand. Do not forget the trans women like Chelsea Manning, who shout and fight and make themselves heard for the rights of the many. Do not forget the silent trans women, too afraid to show themselves, because of the danger that faces them once they do. And do not forget the trans women who are forcibly silenced, such as Raquel Willis, whose microphone was switched off at the march once her speech turned to focus on other trans women revolutionaries.
I want to be clear here. I applaud the empowered millions who marched on Saturday. But, while many of these millions have the ready respect of every other feminist involved in the protest and beyond, it is those who need support the most who continue to have the smallest audience, despite deserving the greatest admiration.
Aiden Alexander Wynn
(Image courtesy of 1 Million Women)