It is interesting to live in a world where you know that your governor believes that you are less than a human being. I try not to take these things personally. He can do anything he wants, but he can not ever separate me from who I am.
That said, he is wholly and horribly responsible for the pain he inflicts on the LGBT community. It is the Brownback era in Kansas
. It is the Brownback era of LGBT pain. It is pain that he inflicts on LGBT youth. There is no other way to take this, except personally.
It doesn’t stop there. It is closing SRS offices and telling people who are struggling to feed their families, that they can drive 30-50 miles (one way) to get services. It is trying to close Kansas Neurological Institute, saying KNI clients, some of the most vulnerable people in Kansas, will be placed into community-based services that either don’t exist or don’t have the capacity to provide appropriate care. It is a horrible focused war on women’s health care. It is the suggestion that women should marry out of poverty. It is the spoken lie that LGBT people are not included in the definition of family.
Also a part of this nightmare, is praying at Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer event with people who hate people who are lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender. Prayer partners included the International House of Prayer and the American Family Association.
We see people who intentionally harm their children as having committed the most horrendous of all possible actions. Causing children to believe that they are unacceptable to God, as they are created, is also among the most horrendous of all possible actions.
Transgender Kansans have little hope of seeing a bright Kansas
anytime soon. Whatever horrors wait in the next three years, life will assuredly become more difficult. Of course, the only response to that, is full attack.
I have a dream. I see Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project working together with a number of other organizations to create a full-fledged Kansas
national transgender conference, Trans-Kansas
, right in the heart of Brownback’s domain.
In the face of oppression, we must surely stand as tall as we can possibly stand. We must reach as high as we can possibly reach. And I believe will all my heart, that this man is powerless to stop us. I am reminded of the old Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, “Get away from me boy, you bother me.”
The Brownback plan for Kansas
has LGBT and other marginalized people cowering to his mighty throne. He truly sees us as less than. The translation of his beliefs about us, is that he underestimates us. I spent a lifetime hiding from my own soul. There is no cowering left in me.
I have been blessed to attend and speak at four national transgender conferences. At my first conference, I sat in a room with over 100 people, the vast majority of whom were transgender. I cried. No one was in fear. Everyone was allowed to dream, if just for a day or two. Without exception, each person was able to celebrate their true identity.
The presence of people like Sam Brownback was not allowed in the room. The pain temporarily forgotten. A magical world of freedom and equality. All transgender Kansans should be able to experience the same feeling. We can make that happen. The dream, is to have the first Trans-Kansas conference in 2013.
Vendors and workshops abound at these conferences. Experts in every area related to transgenderism generously share their knowledge and experience. People come from all over the country, and beyond. Instead of looking at the Brownback era and asking why, let’s look at the Brownback era and say, “and here’s how”.
It is interesting to live in a world where you know that your governor believes that you are less than a human being. I try not to take these things personally. I just try to make them different. What better way to do that, than to create a celebration of transgender in Kansas.
I am now reminded of a scene from Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope in which Princess Leia says, “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”
The time is now to be more daring than ever. Perhaps . . . in the words of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, “Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?” It is good to have a dream.
Persons and organizations interested in helping with, planning, creating, supporting, or participating in Trans-Kansas should contact Stephanie Mott at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Mott is executive director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project and a member of the Board of Directors at Metropolitan Community Church of Topeka. She can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org