Monday, October 15, 2012

Respect The Trans Elders

One of the cool things about conventions and conferences is that you not only get to meet the younglings who are all fired up and ready to change the world and you get a charge just from their energy, but you get the opportunity to talk to our activist elders

When I was at OUT on the Hill on the program was a panel that included our activist elders that I was looking forward to attending. 

Then I looked at the start time for it and noted it was at the same time as my trans town hall.

Then I thought about the fact just before that town hall started that out of the people who were sitting on that stage in terms of myself, Valerie, Danielle, Carmarion and our moderator Laverne, I was the oldest person on the stage that morning.   I then realized that (gasp), I was one of the trans elders.

Once upon a time, I was the one who was awestruck at meeting some of the legendary people in this community when I first started my activism in 1998.   Now at whatever event I have the chance to show up at it's the younglings who are considering it an honor to meet me.

I'm cognizant I'm approaching trans elder status (if I'm not there already).  Janet Mock reminded me during our time in DC it is a blessing for a trans woman to reach my age and I want others to have the ability to reach it too.  

And yeah, if I'm going to be a trans elder. I'm going to look good while doing so.

I have much love for the people who blazed the trails and paths that I'm following and lament the passing of others.  I feel so much joy and pride when I'm in the presence of people like Miss Major and Cheryl Courtney-Evans.  I'm looking forward to the day I meet other trans elders in person like Tracie Jada O'Brien and Sharyn Grayson. .

They lived the history we can only read about or I get to write up in a TransGriot post from time to time. 

These folks were not only transitioning and living their lives during an era that was far more restrictive and gender rigid than the world we currently deal with in the second decade of the 21st century, if we shut our mouths and listen to what our elders have to say, they have important lessons they can still teach us.  

So respect the trans elders.   For the ones who are still here, revere them for being the links to our past history they are.  Consider them as valuable fonts of information that can help us in our present.  Make sure we write their stories down or do them in video or oral history format for future generations. 

And never forget our trans elders are invaluable allies to help us shape our future. 


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