I have to start off by saying that I am super excited to be working on transgender rights with Basic Rights Montgomery. It feels great to be working on trans rights outside of a marriage equality framework. Personally I have been itching to do work outside of the freedom to marry. Working as an organizer for lgbtq rights can get pretty sticky anytime someone asks what you are working on and it is mostly marriage equality, people just assume after that. Leading to conversations defending the state of the ‘movement’ and explaining why I support it. A year ago I rolled my eyes and hoped I wouldn’t be working solely on marriage but I now wholeheartedly support it. I still do not want marriage to solely define me or my work. I have indeed opened hearts and minds to support the freedom to marry and I am proud of that fact.
I want to always make sure my work also includes fighting for greater social justice within and outside of the lgbtq community. I have a feeling that is why I was chosen, in addition to my desire to be molded into a better organizer.
In regards to supporting Basic Rights Montgomery in their fight for trans rights I am so very happy the Task Force has taken this on. Fundraising for trans rights – outside of a top surgery bar fundraiser – seems so daunting at first. The idea of training people on something that I had never done before was intimidating but with rehearsal I knew that would be quelled. I think everyone was worried that they did not have enough people who they felt they could call on to donate specifically for trans rights. Listening to Billy’s fears of rejection by family resonated with me and my own family. It is something to continue to work through and makes me realize how much I really need to talk to my father about my own life. I know that was one of my own worries, still is. Many of my friends who are the ‘true believers’ and want to give are also worrying about where their next paycheck is coming from or if they have enough money to pay rent. I was afraid that I wasn’t raising enough money but seeing how every little bit adds up has been heartening. Through the recruitment calls I have been feeling more and more comfortable asking for money.
As a personal note I always feel like an inadequate member of the team because I don’t have a substantial personal base that I can call on. I don’t know a lot people who give anything more than a few hours volunteer time here and there; or they work for nonprofits so they don’t feel obligated to give outside of that. I find that now that I working for social justice I am not sure what to do with my free time anymore. What do you do once your hobby becomes your job, your work?