GABRIELA USA commemorates Trans Day of Remembrance today, November 20th. Member of GABRIELA USA shares her reflections on the ongoing violence towards trans people and the recent murder of Jennifer Laude by a U.S. Marine.
I was born male.
I am a transgender woman.
And I am a human being.
I cannot describe in a single word or even a sentence how a transgender woman’s life is: colorful, sad, joyful, painful, funny, name all the emotions listed in the dictionary, I may have experienced them all because of the stigma attached to my gender identity and how some people see me from their perspective.
I was raised Roman Catholic in a country where dogma exists, in a community where homosexuality is a taboo, like a disease that has no cure, a hopeless case. Where people perceive you through your gender identity, not what’s inside your heart and what yours is “made of.” I was ridiculed, maligned, misjudged, and belittled because what I believe in my brain and what I feel inside my heart does not complement the norm. It happened almost every single day, in every corner of every street that I’ve been, in my school, on public transportation, and sad to say, even in my home. It became a part of life, part of my system and a portion of me and my existence. Then I asked myself, “Am I cursed because I am a transgender woman?”
Gone are the days when I just sit down sobbing because I was not accepted and felt unloved. I am my and your God’s creation. I deserve to be treated the same way others want to be treated. Your rights are my rights too. I breathe the same air you breathe and drink the same water you drink. I have the same blood that runs in all the veins and arteries in your body. In every way we are all God’s creation, we are all the same, we are all equal. And as a transgender woman, I deserve to be treated and respected like your mother, your sister, your grandmother, and girlfriends deserve to be treated.
Yes, I was born male. Yes, I am a transgender woman. And yes, I am a human being, and your rights are my rights too.
Jennifer Laude, a Filipino transgender woman was killed by an American soldier. A human being was killed. A human being who helped her family in every way she could. A human being who deserved to live fully like everyone in this world is now dead.
Her rights do not end because she’s gone. She deserves a fair trial and justice just like anybody who was brutally killed by a heartless person. She deserves justice not because of the color of her skin, her country of citizenship, not even on the basis of her gender identity. She deserves justice.
Yes, she was a transgender woman like me. Yes, she was a human being like you. A human being who has the same rights as all of us.
A proud transgender woman