And the First New England Transgender Pride March and Rally
By Annette Cinelli
The first New England Transgender Pride March and Rally will be held in Northampton, MA on Saturday, June 7th. The march will begin at noon at the Lampron Park/Bridge Street School and end at the Armory Street parking lot, which is where the rally will be held. According to their website, www.transpridemarch.org, one of the main goals of the march and rally is to “…educate and build awareness of the movement against gender-based discrimination.”
Leslie Feinberg, a well-known transgender writer and activist, will headline the rally. Hir books include Stone Butch Blues, Transgender Warriors, and Drag King Dreams. Miss Major, a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and the lead community organizer of the Transgender, Gender, Variant, and Intersex Justice Program (a program that advocates human rights for transgender prisoners), will also speak at the rally. Other advocates will address gender identity/expression anti-discrimination legislation in MA and CT and the civil rights needs of transgender people. The rally will also include performances from All the Kings Men, a Boston-based drag troupe, and Joe Steven, a singer from the band Coyote Grace.
Pulse caught up with a transgender Worcester resident involved in the rally to find out more about the issues transgender people face. Davy* knew from the time he was three years old that he should have been born a boy. Growing up in the ‘50s, Davy was always more interested in the “boy” activities: playing in the muddy pond, catching slimy frogs, and learning to shoot. Playing with dolls never appealed to him and he and distinctly remembers a photograph from one Halloween when he was younger: “I was dressed like Superman while my sister was the princess.”
Puberty was the worst for him. “I was getting a body I didn’t want.” Wearing dresses and other feminine clothes felt unnatural. “I felt like a guy in drag.” He would always wear pants under his dresses and it drove his family crazy. Davy didn’t really understand these feelings so he pushed them inside and was miserable because of it.
35 years ago, Davy married his best friend, a gay man. Looking back on his youth, Davy sees that he was always attracted to gay men. He’s not sure how or why, but their relationship has always worked out great.
It wasn’t until about ten years ago that Davy realized he had a choice in the matter of his gender. He spoke with his doctor and made the decision to transition. His husband was supportive, but, unfortunately, his two children were not. Davy transitioned three years ago and his daughter still does not speak to him.
Davy is out as a transgender to family and friends, but he is not out at work. He is worried that if people at work know, they will treat him as if he is “…actually a female.” A part of him wants to be out, but at the same time he doesn’t want to be stereotyped and labeled. Some transgender people cut off contact with everyone they know and move away to start their life as their new gender. These people are often times closeted and very unhappy. But on the other hand, if one does have the guts to come out as transgender person, he/she can be attacked or even killed because of it.
Davy feels that the New England Transgender Pride March and Rally is an important event for the whole community. He wants people to see that transgender people are just like everyone else and should have the same basic human rights that everyone else has. Transgender people’s rights are not protected. Even the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a proposed law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, was changed to specifically not include transgender people.
It was believed that the law would have a better chance of passing if it did not include transgender people. Some members of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community don’t think that transgender people have anything in common with them, which is far from true. Many transgender individuals are also gay, lesbian, and bisexual, but the negative stereotype may cause some in the GLB community to worry that an association with transgender people will hurt their community and causes.
Davy hopes that the march and rally will show everyone that “…transgender people are also gay, lesbians, and bisexual. And we’re also people. We’re not weirdoes. We’re not mentally ill. We’re just plain, old people who have a right to our lives and safety.”
*not his real name
Photo: Leslie Feinberg, taken by Marilyn Mumpries
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