Busy wrapping up season 7 in Provincetown and just got this email from Richie Jackson that really resonated and felt it was worth sharing. Richie Jackson is the author of Gay Like Me, published by HarperCollins. He writes the monthly column “In Gay We Trust” for The Advocate. He is an award-winning Broadway, television and film producer who most recently produced the Tony Award-nominated Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song on Broadway. What follows is the email in its entirety:
Usually, my favorite thing to do is talk to other gay men my age but lately, I’ve been disheartened. There is a disturbing sentiment percolating between my brethren. I keep hearing the same lament from them, “Trans people are ruining everything for us.” These gay men believe trans people are the cause of LGB rights being eroded and therefore we are right to leave them on their own to fight the war being waged on them in this country and around the world.
As one friend put it, “Trans people are going to get my freedom taken away.” It seems obvious to me but I still point out to him that since trans people aren’t free, neither are we. I warn him, “Don’t be the person who one day will have to say, ‘First they came for trans people and I wasn’t trans, so I did not speak out. Then they came for non-binary people and I was not non-binary, so I did not speak out…’”
The notion that the trans struggle is not the rest of our community’s concern is inhumane and demonstrably false – it is doing our adversaries dirty work for them. Divided we’re conquered.
To me, everything in our movement up till now has led us to this critical moment, this opportunity to finally liberate the trans community.
Inevitably, during these debates I have with other middle-aged gay men, they’ll blurt out, “Sports! What about sports? It’s unfair!” “Really?” I respond incredulously, “You spent your childhood picked last in gym class dodging dodgeballs to your head, but now you are team bullies and bigots?”
My contemporaries should be able to recognize that Governor Abbott of Texas makes trans people the bogeyman like Jesse Helms did with People With AIDS.
Yes, my sacred marriage’s legal status is in jeopardy and it is terrifying, but trans people taking up their deserved space and demanding their rights aren’t the reason. Marriage Equality will disappear because of Clarence Thomas, because of the dissolution of the separation of church and state, and because of the desperate, angry last grasps on power of southern Republican straight cis white men. Blame also belongs squarely on our allies who claim they support LGBTQ rights but don’t vote as if they do.
This is my vow – if I must choose between my marriage license and the safety and full participation in society for trans people, I choose trans every time.
But that is not a choice we should be forced to make. Each of these battles is connected – bodily autonomy and personal freedom ought to be rallying cries for all of us.
We have the same adversaries, we rise and fall, survive and thrive only if we all do. Gay men are on shaky ground if we think to protect our freedom and safety we have to sacrifice the most vulnerable amongst us.
The stakes could not be higher. Our adversaries want gay people to go back into the closet, to disappear, but they want to annihilate trans people.
So, my pronoun is WE.
#queercommunity #transrightsarehumanrights #wontbeerased #protecttranskids #bodilyautonomy #freedom #liberty