Transcript of Her Serene and Royal Highness' Speech, 10 aout 2018
Fear is the greatest enemy of freedom. And I refuse to let fear take hold of my destiny. I spoke those words a year ago as a motto to live by. But to be honest with you, it is difficult. It’s difficult waking up in a society that despises us for being ourselves. It’s difficult putting on a smile, not knowing if others will lash out simply for living your truth. It’s difficult walking down the street, hoping and praying you make it to your next destination free from harm or harassment.
I will not mince words. We are living in an alarming and hostile world. Politicians attack us to gain political support. Social commentators troll us for increased publicity. Faith groups demonize us to maintain membership.
Transphobia encourages fear, fuels hatred, and leads to violence.
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42.
Viccky Gutierrez, 33.
Zakaria Fry, 28.
Celine Walker, 36.
Tonya Harvey, 35.
Phylicia Mitchell, 45.
Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28.
Sasha Wall, 29.
Nino Fortson, 36.
Gigi Pierce, 28.
Antash’a English, 38.
Diamond Stephens, 39.
Catalina Christina James, 24.
Sasha Garden, 27.
Keisha Wells, 58.
Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, 18.
Sixteen murders in 2018. A significant percentage of those lost are women of color. Some perpetrators have been caught, while others still at large. This does not include the staggering number of attacks that happen on a daily basis. And these statistics only account for the United States. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the dark and dangerous times we live in. It often feels like we’ll lose all we’ve worked for.
But there are glimmering beacons of hope that shine bright. Trans people, at home and abroad, who are aspiring to gain- and winning- political offices, to make the law of the land more just for transgender communities. Trans artists bringing our stories to the stage, online, and the big and silver screens. Trans activists and advocates who march in the streets and speak up not just for themselves, but for the rights and livelihoods of all people.
As a community, we must refuse to be silenced or censored. Let us not live in vain for those who have been taken so young, so soon. Let us continue to resist, with every breath in our bodies.
We may not have fame, recognition, or relative power. Nevertheless, we can all be trailblazers. Our actions speak for who we are, and what we represent. We each have a responsibility to walk, talk, and lead. To ensure the legacies left by our trans foremothers and fathers is not passed down with indignity. To ensure their names and endeavors are not forgotten. All of us here can- and will- provide the fuel for resistance.
I humbly thank the Rochester Black Pride Committee , and the ladies of this brunch, for this award. I will display it with confidence and pride, for it represents the torch set ablaze by those who have come before me. It represents a duty to pass lessons, knowledge, and resources on to the next generation of trans youth. I hope and pray you consider them too as you build legacies of your own. Thank you.