Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The View From My Window

Just a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t be saying this. I know I wouldn’t. But as I look out from my window, I’m seeing a different Community in St. Louis than I did just a year ago. Last year at this time, ‘Maine’ was a huge issue to Marriage Equality for the local gay and lesbian community here, much as the anti-discrimination policy in Kalamazoo, Michigan was to me. The James Byrd-Matthew Sheppard Hate Crime Bill Law was seen as a huge deterrent to hate crimes despite a state version already here on the books in Missouri. I saw it just a bit more, a nuance not seen by the “L’s & G’s”, that being Transgender individuals being recognized and protected as people by the Federal government. Real huge.

In the last year, I have traveled to a variety of Trans* and LGBT* Conferences across the U.S., Lobby Days, both state and national, even prowled to Kansas City in the auto several times. In fact, I have traveled farther in the last year than I did in the last ten years of my career in the aerospace industry, during which career I had previously traveled coast-to-coast and back again several times, and everywhere else in between. What most people don’t realize is that I left the Community in very late 2006, said I was burnt out and needed to take a Sabbatical. Which I did, to transition and so I hid for two years. And when I did come back, there was something different in the view.

What I have seen since I came back into the Community, is a strong, dedicated group of individuals and organizations working on ways to bring Equality. No, we are not working on the same things, heaven forbid, we all have our personal priorities. How possibly could anything thing get done, without a little bit of drama? I see a group leading the charge on Marriage Equality. I am working on Trans* Issues. I see a group working on Anti-Violence. I am working on Trans* Issues. IBID. But that sounding a bit unfair, I do work on Community issues, working with other groups and individuals. As they work with me on Trans* Issues. We got Gender Identity/Expression added to the City of St Louis’ Non-Discrimination Policy. That took a bit of teamwork. You know, ‘Unity.’

As I have said many times unabashedly, I am annoying and underfoot. That’s how I work. I’m the Trans lady that started yelling ‘ENDA’ while most everyone else was yelling ‘Remember the Maine.’ They yelled louder, well, so did I! But what I see now is the St Louis regional Community working their way down the Road Called Equality. I challenged Pride St Louis to make PrideFest 2010 even more inclusive to the Trans* Community than it already was, and they took it, made some changes, rolled it up in a nice package and handed the challenge right back to me. Uh. Okay. And PrideFest reflected that in the number of Trans* individuals that turned out in record numbers. I got emails from “L’s & G’s” stating they had never seen so many Trans* individuals at PrideFest. Unity.

And as I go through the ‘Events’ listings on FaceBook, I see all kinds of Community and Equality projects. I see events for Marriage Equality, Repeal of DADT, fundraising for youth, for HIV education, for Equality organizations, to help a specific person, to counter-protest Hate. And I see all sorts of people working these things. And the people are the LGBTIQA*. No longer is it just entertainment, but instead, social justice for all. Wow. Unity. Yes, we have our issues, we have our drama. But could we live together without it?

Oh yeah, do you know the word ‘Unity’ is embedded in the word ‘Community?’

Robyn Carolyn Montague

Friday, September 3, 2010

Robyn Carolyn Montague, DOA

On November 20th, the Transgender Community of the Greater St Louis regional area will be coming together to hear the ugly words. The ugly words that are names, and the date of not of their birth, but that date of their murder, those since last November 20th. The numbers are ugly in themselves, the Deustch Intstitue "Luminalis" has suggested the rate of murder for Trans individuals worldwide is roughly one every three days - the ones they know of.....

But why is it you don't care? A black gay man in Atlanta, the head of Black Pride there was recently murdered. The outrage for this previously unknown person's murder was huge, the reaction was repetitive postings on social networking sites. Yet earlier this spring I posted the murder of a Trans woman, who's murder was that by decapitation, the look of fear frozen in her face when they found her head over a mile away freom her body. Not one bit of reaction. I posted a picture of her headless body, yet again, not a word from anyone. In fact, the post that came from someone after that, was talking about going to a party, to drink and have fun.

So why don't you care? Are you so removed from the Trans Community that you fear us? We are doctors and lawyers, engineers and retail clerks. But mostly we are unemployed, representing the highest number unemployed people in the LGBT Community. Because of fear. There are those that say they are at the bottom of the 'totem pole.' But you do not see us, because we are buried in the ground underneath it. Of the hate crimes reported this past year, most was towards those being Trans. Being Trans puts us all at high risk, yet seventy-five percent of that hate was directed at Trans women of color.

The thought that our rapes and murders go unnoticed, is it because it is not seen a problem, because no one knows who these people are? Will it have to be my own brutal rape, murder and dismemberment before this form of genocide is brought to your attention? Does it take a photo of that murdered body of mine for you to understand we are being murdered at the rate of one every three days, to wake up?

Have a nice day.

Robyn Carolyn Montague

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Not Call Nov 2nd, National Equality Day?

I said this earlier this morning:

"The American Independent Party has made a list of candidates to vote against in Missouri. Everyone single one of them is our LGBT and LGBT-friendly politicians across the state. Are you going to let that happen?"

I also said this:

"Elections to the United States Senate are scheduled to be held on November 2, 2010, for 37 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate. Are you going to vote?"

And lastly, my words said last evening:

"November is perhaps the single most important election is recent history for the LGBT* Community. At stake are Equality and Social Justice issues at both State and National levels. It is imperative that our Community gets out to support our LGBT and LGBT-friendly candidates. Issues directly affected by this Vote are ENDA, Repeal of DADT, Marriage Equality, Safe School Laws and true Immigration Reform."

If we, the LGBT do not get out and support and volunteer for those folks that can help us, have we in fact given up the fight for Equality? 'Huh,' you say?

The Republicans are beginning dangerous rhetoric, that they should support 'gay marriage' yet the joke is on them, it is same-sex, better said 'same-gender' marriage, though 'Marriage Equality' works okay for me. From their rhetoric begat from the likes of Ken Mehlman, who has suddenly wanting to become the champion of Marriage Equality.

But do you trust them enough to sway your vote and risk the aspects of Equality in general? Shouldn't we be out donating and volunteering to our LGBT / LGBT-friendly incumbents and candidates. WE will make a difference, that can head us down that road where we can call it 'National Equality Day' every Election Day. I challenge each and everyone to help bring Equality to a reality.

Oh yeah, register to vote if you have not and make certain that you do vote.

Robyn Carolyn Montague