New Shoes

You are at work, and your shoes hurt.  You really want to slip them off, but you know that if you do that, when you need to get them back on for the meeting, it will be almost impossible.  Your feet will have swelled and those heels you wore especially for the meeting will be useless.

It is a very trans day.  The NYS Assembly passed GENDA, and there is a big open session in town tonight.  My sister asked why I didn’t go.  Part of it was my mother’s expectations of what she wanted to do, but the big challenge for me isn’t coming out to do the work, it’s coming out with the clear understanding I have to go back in soon and hard, and often in a moment.   Taking off those heels may give a moment of comfort, but slamming them back on is a killer.

I wrote this while watching the Assembly feed:

I have watched some of this, and I was moved at how Assemblyman Gottfried spoke for us when challenged by Assemblyman Mike Cole (R, Erie // Niagara) and Peter Lopez ( R, Scoharie) on issues like transpeople teaching in elementary schools, transpeople using the same restrooms as young children, dress codes, sex offenders pretending to be transgender to gain benefits and so forth.   They both offered hypothetical worst case scenario cases of young children being exposed to sexual organs, asking people to be incensed by these extreme possibilities of abuse, asking that the assembly take all fears very seriously and not dismiss them.

Traditional human rights legislation deals with classes of people, and the class of who is transgender is not as simple to define as characteristics like skin color or birth sex.  Those in the opposition want respect, an end to abuse, but they also want clear, black and white definitions of who is what.

As Assemblyman Gottfried responded often, shouldn’t we expect people to use the facilities appropriate for their gender and not just for their sex? Or should we just tell trans people to go before they leave home?    Bad behavior prohibited by law will still be prohibited after GENDA, but regular behavior by transpeople will not be protected without GENDA.

I have lived a long time without seeing elected officials stand up for people like me.  It was easy to assume that was either because I was invisible, not worth understanding, or because I was broken, not worth defending & supporting

Seeing Assembly members stand up and speak eloquently to support and defend me and people like me was heart rending.  Even Joel Miller, a Republican from Poughkeepsie who practiced as a dentist, stood to defend the idea that we are who we know ourselves to be.

At around 555 PM, EDT, GENDA passed the New York State Assembly, 102 to 33, after a long fight.

More work will have to be done to get it passed in the Senate and made law.

Thanks to the hundreds who have worked for years to make this happen.

Today, the NYS Assembly said that transpeople are good and valued New Yorkers, worthy of protection.

And it feels good to have had that moment.

It was just after writing that that I ended up hitting myself in the head a number of times.  The debate happened over dinner, and while I missed the beginning preparing dinner, once I came up after, I had obligations to fulfill, work to do, a meeting to be at.  I had to get those damn shoes back on, and fast, and that takes the kind of wincing pain that will focus you.

I can take the moment, but is the moment worth the pain of going back?  I can be called at any moment, and that is sharp.  I may feel soft and safe after hearing Assembly Members stand up for me and people like me, but that doesn’t let me off the hook.

It’s not the trouble of going that stops me from peeling off the armor, it’s the absolute knowledge that I have to be ready to slam it back on, with the sound of a car, or a call, or anything.

And that’s the truth.