Year 12 Speech- What is right? What is just?
We are all Human
“It is revolutionary for any trans person to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist” When we mention or even see the word transgender written down, most of us choose to turn a blind eye to them, who they are and/or what they classify themselves as. It is sad when trans people are not given the same equal rights as somebody who was born into the body that they were comfortable in, for trans people this is different. For some, it was easy to accept and move on, for others, it simply took a bit more time and effort to stop being who they weren’t.
We are so oblivious in today’s society about the rights that the trans community are not being granted, and we are so happy to sit back and do nothing about it. What has happened to equality? Is it now only a word? Will it actually ever be an action? We are so happy to to think that someone else will do something about the situation, but the truth is that the only people who are helping, are the one’s that this is happening to. In 2011, a national report against transgender discrimination revealed that, 78% of the over 6,450 respondents that were surveyed, had received some sort of harassment throughout their schooling life, and that this harassment was so profound that 15% of them were forced to leave school. In 2016, another survey was conducted with 28,000 people. Of these 28,000 people, 26% of them lost a job due to bias, 50% of them were harassed on the job, 20% were evicted or denied housing, and 78% of trans students were harassed or assaulted. Violence comes in many forms when you identify yourself as a transgender. It is commonly done by the hands of strangers, but can happen in familiar hands; the hands they think they are safe in, the ones at home; family violence. Violence done by the people who have promised to love them through each and every decision that they make. The ones who promised to help and support them through what they go through. Violence from the hands who are never meant to lay a finger on them.
It is unfair that transgender people are not treated the same as say, someone who is, “normal” How is normal defined really? Ordinary life, straight, cisgender, good family life, small group of friends? Because these people were not born how they wanted, and changed, they aren’t normal? Transgenders have been stripped of the same rights that someone who does not identify as transgender has. There have been many court cases in which the court claimed to have the child’s interests as their best intentions, but have ruled against the transgender parent, which resulted in them losing access to their child, solely on the basis of gender identity. A court’s view on this situation, is that it will be emotionally confusing for a child to see their father as a woman or vise versa. This view is flawed. Chances are that the transgender has been this way fo next person has her own story. When Nikki Hayden, was the young age of four she didn’t actually know she was a girl. One of her earliest memories was when she was five and got shouted at by a teacher for going into the girls’ bathroom. She knew at this early age that she was different. Different from the other boys. When she was nine she refused to have her haircut, she wanted to keep it long, however when she was 16 she was forced into having it cut, this was emotionally tormenting for her though. As you can imagine, she was bullied for her differences. She was thin, feminine, had no interest in football and hung with the girls. The people she went to school with, picked at every feature she had, and mocked everything to do with gender and sexuality, you name it, they said it. She did not realise that their was a name for what she was identifying herself as. She learned what trans meant through YouTube. A lightbulb went off in her head and she had discovered who she had been her entire life. To this day, she doesn’t actually tell people that she is transgender. She feels normal and comfortable as she is. Nikki says that “Trans people are the same as everyone else, our ideals in life are to be happy, to be respected, to be comfortable. I’ve had people who have openly said to me that they’ve had prejudices around trans people but as soon as they’ve met me they’ve understood more – it’s who I am and the way that I was born. There’s no real difference between myself and people who are cisgender [non-transgender]” Nikki’s intentions were clear, she was always a woman, she just had to live in the wrong body; the body of a guy for the first sixteen years of her life.
The next story I am choosing to share with you, is the one of Keith Reynolds. He says that people have got it into their heads that they wake up and decide to be trans. He wants people to understand that it is not a choice. He told his mum when he was 13 years 99s intentions were clear, she was always a woman, she just had to live in the wrong body; the body of a guy for the first sixteen years of her life.
The next story I am choosing to share with you, is the one of Keith Reynolds. He says that people have got it into their heads that they wake up and decide to be trans. He wants people to understand that it is not a choice. He told his mum when he was 13 years of age. His mum was shocked and didn’t really understand what he meant. Six months after telling his mum, he told his dad, who was furious at the news. There was a lot of tension in the air at that moment. He couldn’t wear men’s clothing or deodorant without it breaking out in an argument. His dad then got cancer, and sadly died a week before he turned 16. When his dad got got sick they didn’t talk about him being trans. Keith thought that once he had recovered, they would go back to talking about it, but he didn’t recover. After his dad died, he found a book about transgender young people and immediately gave it to him mum, who read it, and was changed completely. She told him that both she and his dad were worried about how this would affect his life, in the sense of finding a job and a life partner. This did not turn out to be difficult. He has never had trouble finding jobs, and has a partner. Keith’s story proves that trans people can do anything they put their minds too. They have the same outlook as anyone else and require the same respect and love as the rest of us.
We are all human. We are all searching for attention, love, respect and support. These things, no matter who we are, are things we all crave. Discrimination against trans people needs to come to an end as soon as possible. These verbal and physical threats are not right. Granted, the difference of saying we will do something rather than actually doing it is massive. We are all capable of saying that we can do something to end it, but what about actually acting on it? It can be as simple as providing emotional support for the transgender and gender nonconforming people you know, especially when they are finding it hard due to rejection from family members and friends, or struggling because of discrimination out in the world. If you wish to help further, you can ensure your workplace/school has a written policy against discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Work to enforce non-discrimination policies for medical health, or social service providers. You can work to fix health and health insurance systems to end discriminatory exclusions for transition-related health care. In New Zealand we have an organisation called Rainbow Youth who supports gender diverse teens in New Zealand by supporting them through their journey. Be We need to remember that;
We are human. We are not perfect. We are alive. We try things. We make mistakes. We stumble. We fall. We get hurt. We rise again. We try again. We keep learning. We keep growing. And… we are thankful for this priceless opportunity called life”
By Kimmi McArthur