This has taken me a few days to really process. I joined Tri-Cities Transgender at their day of remembrance Sunday, November 17, and it was powerful. On a level I can’t really put into words, it shook me. I work to be a good ally to our LGBTQ community, and my heart aches when I see the way some of our neighbors treat them, but this ceremony was different.
I heard stories from members of our trans community about their lives, discovering who they were, pain, and loss. I heard the stories of nearly 30 members of the trans community who’d been murdered in the past year just for trying to live their lives while being honest to themselves. More than one of those came from communities where I’d lived or visited growing up, communities I never would’ve guessed could be home to such hate. Places where I thought people of all walks of life could and would be welcomed. That revelation drove home one important fact for me, more clearly than anything else could:
It’s easy to overlook the signs and the impacts of hate if neither is directed at you, and the onus falls to us to be vigilant. To watch for signs of hate, even and especially when it isn’t targeting us, and to stand up and speak out on behalf of the people it is targeting.
I, for one, don’t want to hear 30 more stories about such senseless violence. I don’t want to hear ONE more. But I will. I will listen to each and every one of them until there are no more to hear. Because that is my responsibility as someone who has the privilege of never having to suffer the kind of discrimination our minority friends and neighbors of all types do.
I have, and will continue to, internalize the stories shared with me in order to be properly informed and prepared to serve each and every person in the district. Not just the ones like myself. Join our campaign, share your stories, donate anything you can, volunteer, or just ask me questions directly at www.chrisroweforcongress.com, and help me stand up for all the people in Tennessee and bring them real representation!
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