Council Proclaims June 24th 2016 Trans Pride Day

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On June 20, 2016, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a proclamation declaring June 24, 2016, Trans Pride Day. Trans Pride is a bold political act of defiance in a society that still largely refuses to allow people to define themselves as they are. The fight for trans rights is critical to the broader struggles of the workers’ movement.

Video of my speech will be uploaded as soon as its available. In the meantime, a rush draft of my speech can be found below, and you can read the full text of the proclamation here (PDF). I hope to see everyone this Friday, June 24, 5 PM, at Cal Anderson Park to join the  Trans Pride Seattle 2016 rally and march.

Trans Pride

Transcript of Speech as Delivered

I’d like to present a proclamation celebrating Trans Pride Seattle 2016.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Gender Justice League and other organizations and activists in the trans rights movement will be holding a Trans Pride March and rally this Friday in Seattle as part of the pride weekend celebrations.

I have marched with Trans Pride every year since its inception, first as a candidate in 2013, and then later as an elected representative of Seattle’s working people. I have seen this event grow year after year from a couple hundred people to several thousand thanks to the courage of Seattle’s trans rights activists.

The recent massacre at an LGBTQ night club in Orlando, Florida exemplifies that standing up for LGBTQ rights is still a matter of courage, and a recognition that we have a long way to go in our fight for a society free of bigotry.

The struggle of our trans community members is the sharp edge of the fight for basic rights in workplaces and in society at large, and also the leading example of courage and determined political activism.

All over the world, the transgender community is under attack. Between 2008 and 2014, there were 1,612 murders, across 62 countries, of transgender persons — equivalent to a killing every two days.

This is no different in the US. The transgender murder rate hit a historic high in the US in 2015, with at least 21 transgender women being killed simply for expressing who they are. The majority of these were transgender women of color. The true number is almost certainly higher.

Transgender people are four times more likely to live in poverty.

Ninety percent of transgender people report experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job.

Forty one percent reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population.

Transgender people of color were 6 times more likely to experience physical violence from the police compared to white cisgender survivors and victims.

And all around the country, the trans community has been continually scapegoated with discriminatory legislation.

But in the face of these conditions, the discrimination and oppression, the reality is the movement for trans rights is making amazing strides forward. The successes in the fight for gender-neutral bathrooms in schools, workplaces, and public spaces is just one brilliant example.

After the Stonewall rebellion, radical organizations like the Gay Liberation Front organized pride marches to fight back against the stigmatization and marginalization of the LGBTQ community.

The Trans Pride movement is playing a similar historical role today. Trans Pride is a bold political act of defiance in a society that still largely refuses to allow people to define themselves as they are.

Trans Pride is also a reminder that the fight against oppression is deeply interlinked with the larger fight for workplace rights. Trans activists have correctly been leading voices in the fight for $15/hour, to end the gender pay gap, and the battle to unionize our workplaces.

This proclamation adds the City’s voice in support.  It proclaims, “Friday, June 24th 2016 to be Trans Pride Day in the City of Seattle and encourages all elected officials and Seattle residents to attend Trans Pride Seattle 2016.”

I would also add that the proclamation recognizes Marsha Botzer, with the Ingersoll Gender Center, and Danni Askini, with the Gender Justice League, and trans activists who led the Stonewall Rebellion.

And, I would like to personally encourage my colleagues to join me at Trans Pride this year.