In my last job, one of the more challenging projects I managed was upgrading a lot of really old hardware. I needed specs of the old hardware and the new and how the one set mapped to the other. Someone told me to go talk to a woman in AWS who had just stood up three data centers in Asia, so I wrote her an email and asked for her help. I was going to be in DC in a few weeks, where she was based, so we agreed to meet. She showed up for the meeting impeccably dressed, while I was in jeans and a sweatshirt, since I would be pulling cables in a data cage that afternoon. She was incredibly knowledgeable about hardware, listened to my needs, and gave me the conversion spreadsheet she had built, complete with formulas for calculating how much and what to buy. She was a lifesaver. She was also a Trans woman.
I haven’t spoken with her since that one meeting, but she has been in my head for the last five years. Every time someone says Trans woman aren’t women or Trans people don’t deserve equal protection under the law, I think of her. I think of the danger she faces just trying to live her life according to her truth and her heart.
Yesterday brought two horrible news items: a Trans woman, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, was brutally murdered in Philadelphia and the Trump administration finalized a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in health care and health insurance (ACA). My heart broke and the tears streamed down my face as I read these stories. How is this America? What has happened to equality, to care and concern, to taking care of each other?
This is a time of upheaval and uncertainty. I can’t just say “I’m going camping” any more and pretend none of it exists. Black Lives Matter. Trans Lives matter. Everyone deserves health care. Everyone. Your broke uncle, my disabled sister, your preemie baby, my trans coworker.
What can I do? I am one person. Just one person in this huge country. I cannot stay silent. I will not stay silent.
I stand with Trans people.
I stand with Black people.
I stand for human rights.
I stand for love.
and love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.