Understanding another culture is important because you get to see how they feel, think, and comprehend life. We may not understand everthing but respecting the uniqueness of their culture can built respect and brother/ sisterhood.
Equality & Justice Day was rousing success. Over 600 mostly young people came to this annual event. The two main themes were the passage of the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA] and protecting TGLBQ youth from conversion therapy. The state assemby passed the bill barring convesion therapy a few days later. Now it's in the state senate's court.
After a cotntinental breakfast and a rousing welcome from Empire.State Pride Agenda, who hosts EJ Day, it was off to visits to state assembly members and senators, and workshops. I chose the latter. In the morning workshop, I listened to high school students share their experiences of being TGLBQ in their respective schools. Some were bullied, harassed and, one one occasion, threatened. I admire their courage in trying and change the culture where they are. All agree that it's the school's responsibility to provide a safe environment for ALL students.
Aftr lunch and a rally on the state capitol steps, it was.off to the afternoon workshop. The decline of safe spaces was discussed along with creating a safe work environment for TGLBQ employees. The facilitators are creating a cooperative in the Buffalo area. Each employee would be an owner and be involved.with the community. In New York State, housing and food are.two critical issues as it is in many parts of the country. I remember my father talking about cooperatives when I was a teen.
I shared my story of coming out as trans with the people at my table. They found my story interesting and different from many stories in that I'm still with my spouse after transistion.There were many interesting stories.
The day wasn't without drama. On the way home our bus broke down, so we had to double up in one of the other buses.
This was umy second go around attending. I gained amuch better understanding about what needs to be done. Politicans on the local level can be the beginning (hopefully) of seeing that trans people receive the same chance and rights like any other citizen. Right now, I 'm trying to figure out what I can to help enact change here in New York.
I will be traveling tomorrow to Albany, New York for Equality and Justice Day. We will meet with legislators, attend workshops, and a rally on the steps of the state capitol. Daniella Carter, a rising star as a trans activist, will be the featured speaker. I attend my first EJ Day last year and found it to be interesting and eye opening. There were many youth at last year's conference and I expect more this year.
My main reason for going is to see the state of the fight for employment protections for transgender people. the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) has been on the docket for over a decade now. It should have passed the same time marriage equality was in 2010 but was conveniently forgotten, even my the mainstream LGBT organizations because everyone was caught in the euphoria of the passage of marriage equality.
I will get more information and see what I can do to help move this along.
The next couple of years will be pivotal as many of the gains TGLBQ people have made will be attacked severely. It's important for us to stay informed and active. Fight lies with truth. Help those who are confused about what we're about. Above all don't fight hate with hate but with love.