Friday, July 4, 2014

Thoughts from Richmond on July 4

I'm sitting here at the computer of my dear friend Ally Raymond.  Linda Lewis and I are her guests for a few days here in Richmond, Virginia.

A few thoughts at random as those two get ready.  We are going to a Pig Roast block party sort of thing.  It's going to be a hot day, but a fun one.

This one gets a little preachy folks.

Today is American Independence Day.  Today, Americans like me celebrate our independence from England.  Never mind that the Declaration was actually signed on July 2- those are niggling details.  We celebrate on July 4.

I was thinking about this last night.  Jefferson wrote one hell of a document back in 1776.  The most oft quoted part is as follows.  And many Americans can quote this from memory.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Never mind that Americans held slaves for decades after this document, and that true equality between the sexes has yet to be reached (Hobby Lobby anyone?)  More niggling details.

Never mind that rights for Transpeople are still lagging far behind... oh wait, that's my point.

July 3, Richmond.

We Americans like to say we live in the land of the Free.  But freedom truly only exists for one protected class:  White Males.  So it was in 1776- so it is in 2014.

And THAT is NOT a niggling detail.

I have been asked by online people "why would you give up being male?  You are top of the heap- a white male.  Why join a repressed group?"

Well, like I had a choice?  It was either transition or blow my head off.

Then there's this Emma Lazarus once wrote "Until we are all free, we are none of us free."

So. taking that as a Truth (and a self evident one at that), we can say that as long as Transpeople are not free... as long as Women are not truly free, then none of us are free.

Life.  Liberty.  The Pursuit of Happiness.  These truths are not JUST self evident, but they come at a price.  Millions of soldiers over the years have paid the dues for us.  Many NON soldiers serve humanity as well, every day- in shelters, classrooms, everywhere.

So on this July 4, I think about what I have done lately.  Yes, I'm a Former paramedic.  Yes, I was on the picket lines against Reagan, W, and the Iraq War.  But what have I done LATELY, especially for the trans cause?

For my brothers and sisters.

For whom our truths may be self evident to US, but not to the public at large.  They see as as freaks or worse- to, at times, be denied Life and Liberty.

Do we dissolve our bonds with those people, or do we educate them?  Well, I have a Masters in Education, so guess what I answer?  

And so I shall.

Many holidays have no True meaning.  But some do.  Memorial Day and Veterans Day we salute those who fought and continue to fight for us. Thanksgiving is about Family... those which with we are born and those we choose later in life.  Then there are religious holidays.

Independence day is more about Fireworks and a pig roast.  It's about celebrating where we come from, and who we are.  And it's about re-committing ourselves to the cause of Independence for ALL.  

Today I am in the former capitol of a political entity that existed to keep people in bondage, and I celebrate Freedom here.  And here I re-commit myself to the cause.

Preachy?  Maybe.  But it's how this woman from Philadelphia, birthplace of Freedom, feels today. 

In Richmond, Virginia.

On the fourth of July.


  1. It seems strange to me that when I read American blogs I hear so much more about lack of freedoms than I do here in the UK, I suspect that these days in this Monarchy many of us are more free to pursue happiness and live our lives in the way wish than our brothers and sisters in the USA.

    Not just through legislation but mainly through the acceptance of "the people"

    1. Well remember Paula, that this country was founded by Puritans who couldn't keep their noses out of other peoples' business or bedrooms...