“Growing up Transgender in America shouldn’t mean growing up to hate your body”
Read local activist Polina Smutko’s empowering (and undelivered) Pride speechLocal NewsFriday, July 3, 2015
Along with a fantastic turnout and a heightened sense of joy thanks to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage just a day earlier, Santa Fe’s recent Pride parade was an affair to remember. Joining a barrage of colorful balloons, beads and tender signs of affection that added to the already celebratory mood, several guest speakers, including Mayor Gonzales, took the Plaza stage to address the crowd.
Among them was to be local activist Polina Smutko, who due to a scheduling gaffe was bumped from the program. This week, Smutko shared her undelivered speech on her Facebook page.
Her words were honest, heart wrenching and uplifting. “I am proud that I no longer feel less a woman because I am trans and not cis,” Smutko wrote.Below, you’ll find the entire, unedited text reprinted with permission.
I am proud to be here today proud to honor the day marriage became equal
the day love won
Proud to live in a town where the Mayor respects our small community enough to put his career on the line to make Santa Fe a safer place for us.
Proud the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance has elected me the first transwoman on its board
Proud to be T in their LGBTQ
Proud to come after Martha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and every other trans woman who started the Stonewall riots in 1969 by refusing to be arrested, by refusing to be part of the gender binary
This is my first pride celebration and I am proud to stand up here as a trans woman
Proud that I am no longer too intimidated to stand up and self-identify
revealing something so private something most trans people have been trained a whole life time to be ashamed of.
I am proud that I no longer feel less a woman because I am trans and not cis.
Growing up Transgender in America shouldn’t mean growing up to hate your body
To feel less than, because you are not like others
girls can have penises too and boys can have a vagina.
Growing up transgender in America shouldn’t mean that you may someday be murdered because you defied the gender binary
Somewhere in the world a transwoman is murdered every 35 minutes
It shouldn’t mean that you have more than a 41% chance of committing suicide like Leelah Alcorn and so many other children because people tell you are not real.
It shouldn’t mean you will be four times as likely to live in extreme poverty. and and have a 40% more likely to remain unemployed.
Growing up transgender shouldn’t include experiencing alarming rates of harassment physical violence , and sexual violence in school . or that you will be one of the 15% of trans youth that leave school and never graduate because of that violence
It shouldn’t mean you will receive unequal health care. That doctors and EMTs would refuse you treatment because of who you are.
That insurance companies will openly discriminate against you forcing you to pay exorbitant prices for lifesaving medication and surgical procedures
Growing up transgender in America shouldn’t mean that you be required to have your body invaded to have surgery in order to make your birth certificate match who you are. Why can’t a woman have a penis and still be a woman.
Our community is dedicated to changing it’s future. Right now We are concentrating on our school children. You will see people circulating among you asking you to sign a petition. That petition asks the Santa Fe School Board to implement a policy that offers a safe place for Transgender children to learn. To give them an equal chance at staying safe in school and getting the same education as any other child.
In time these things can and will change. There is hope for the future and that future begins with education. And in families. It begins with educating prospective parents to stand up against the gender binary and accept and love all of their children. Parents who know enough and care enough to let go of the gender binary’s social construct when they have a child who defies it. Schools willing to give transgender and gender non conforming students the same opportunities regardless of its inherit challenges.
Today we have come so far. Marriage equality is now law and the trans population of santa fe can now use public rest rooms in peace with out worry over being assaulted. Today love triumphs over bigotry equality in marriage is the law but true equality For the transgender community is still a long way off.
For more information on New Mexico transgender resources click here.