Count me in, Curran: Gathering allies for our capital region transgender community

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Curran Streett Accepts Her Award for Excellence in the Professions from the Women’s Business Council of the Albany Regional Chamber of Commerce

It takes a big deal for me to interrupt a series on Backyard Chickens and great gift ideas for Father’s Day, especially when it upsets my sister, Renee, who is a loyal reader of Moms@Work and laughs at all of my jokes (mostly the ones I don’t actually mean to make).

But, last week, Curran Streett woke me up- shook my shoulders and my heart with her words, and I have been unable to stop thinking about what she said at the 2014 Women of Excellence luncheon held by the Albany Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Council.

Honored for Excellence in the Professions, Curran Streett is the Executive Director of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, and herself a working mom.  In her powerful two minutes on stage, Curran raised the level of discourse for all of us as women, as parents, as change agents and as humans.

In her call to show ourselves as allies to the Trans* (transgender) community, she reminded me of the simple truth that as long as one among us is oppressed, we are all oppressed.

The fight for marriage equality has momentum, and I believe it is only a matter of time until we will all share the right to marry for love (or whatever reason we choose).

But, oppression, discrimination, hate and ugliness still exist for the LGBTQ community, and if we are not actively stopping it, then we are making it worse. This is evidenced by the alarming rates of suicide, and suicide attempts by LGBTQ teens, and the shocking short life expectancy of a person who is transgender.

I consider myself a lifelong change agent and active against oppression in all its forms. Yet, in the rush of a trillion family, work and doctoral logistics, I need to stay even more vigilant because I am modeling what it means to extend the privilege I have to my children every minute of every day.  They are watching me, and yours are watching you.

“It all boils down to hoping that our kids will never simply be bystanders- that they will have the courage to right wrongs and do good while also doing well,” says Anne Saile, Curran’s very proud mom, “I don’t know if I knew enough about how to be an ally – back in the day when she was 14 and struggling with her identity. That is probably true for so many parents who want to raise strong, brave women.”

Yes, Anne, it is. And for grown women who want to stay strong, brave women and working moms like you.

My good friend Sundance Lev shared with me this video of a child whose family helps him become the boy he was meant to be.  May we all see out children for exactly who they are, and treat them accordingly.

#YesAllWomen reminds us that if we are advocating for the equality and rights of some, but not all women, then we are hurting, not helping.

If we are raising up some of us, but not all of us, then we are hurting, not helping.

If we find some humans worthy of rights, and safety, and love and happiness, but not others, then whatever good we do in the world is lost, counter-acted.

So, what the next step to becoming a better ally to transgender people?

Here are some ideas Curran, her colleagues and my facebook friends offer us as we commit to becoming better allies to the Trans* community:  Read a book by an LBGT author and then ten more,  (learn about, then) write to your state legislator about GENDA, ask an LGBT person about their experiences and then really listen.  Bring up LGBTQ people, experiences, news and stories as often and positively as you can, include and invite members of the LGBT community to your events and activities.  Finally, if you’d like to donate to the Pride Center of the Capital Region, or volunteer for the (SUPER FUN!) Capital Pride- Parade and Festival on 14 June, call 462-6138 or email info@capitalpridecenter.org.

I personally commit to a number of these, and I know my co-blogger, Deb Best, will too. How about you?

Please leave comments, questions and ideas for how you will become a better ally to the LGBTQ community below, and connect with us on:

Twitter @CRWomenAtWork, @debmbest and @CoreyJamisonLLC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capregionwomenatwork

Join the LinkedIn Group: Capital Region Women@Work

Website: CapRegionWomenatWork.com

Remember: Lower the bar, and drop the guilt (today).

This post was originally published by the Times Union and can be accessed here.

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