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Stephanie Mott

Stephanie Mott
Guest Column

I was honored greatly by the invitation to speak at the Women’s March on Topeka, Kansas this past Saturday – January 21st.

It is extraordinarily validating to be included as a woman among women. Not to say that validation is needed. I know who I am. But to say that this particular type of validation is greatly acknowledged and appreciated.

I would like to share a few thoughts about yesterday’s rally and march, and then a few thoughts about being a transgender woman who was asked to speak at the rally.

Thoughts about yesterday’s Women’s March Topeka, Kansas:

I met women who have fought this fight before. Decades ago. Astonished that we are still having to fight for basic human respect and dignity. And they showed up, once again. I met young persons who are filled with fire. Waiting, wanting, willing to step up. Stepping up already with incredible voices of courage and an undeniable knowledge that all human beings are worthy.

I met people of all ages and ethnicities and orientations and identities and races and abilities and backgrounds and truths and beliefs. All of us together as one gathering of humanity.

I looked up to the Capitol steps (at the speakers) and saw and heard and felt the real, personal struggles of living, breathing human beings for no other reason than because of their faith or the color of their skin or their ability or ethnicity or because of the simple fact that they are women. I saw their courage and conviction to lift their voices and bare their souls and share their dreams of a world in which we can all live together in dignity and peace.

I looked down from the Statehouse steps (when I spoke) and saw the thousands of women and men who took time out of their lives to participate in creating solutions for our troubled world. I saw the families with their children, knowing that their presence there would help their children grow up believing that truth and justice are worth standing for, and because they want their children to know that one person can make a difference.

And for those who can not, or will not see the reason for this, the purpose of this, the need for this; I feel sadness. There is no other reason for our existence on this planet than to lift each other up. There is no other purpose than to embrace each other, not in spite of our differences, but because of our differences. There is no other need than unconditional love.

Thoughts about being a transgender woman who was asked to speak:

In front of me were some 4000 men and women who yelled in affirmation as I proudly declared that I am a woman. Behind me was the Kansas Statehouse where many legislators have sown the seeds of hate that have grown into the vile and violent discrimination and destruction that are faced by transgender youth today – especially in states like Kansas.

Frightening federal forces are gathering like death clouds preparing to bring pain and suffering to the diverse, oppressed peoples of our country. The sun came out on the Capitol this day and shined down like the promise that peace and persistence will grow the power; that we will prevail in our cities and towns, and in our state.

From the ending of my speech:

And the last thing I want to talk about is love. Because in the end, the answer is love. In the end the answer is love for every single human being on the planet. 

I’m not talking about the kind of love that sits in the corner and quietly doesn’t say anything and says, “Whatever happens is okay.” 

I’m talking about the kind of love that stands out on a street corner and holds up signs and says, “Here I am, we will not allow this to happen.” 

I’m talking about the kind of love that says, “I don’t care if you’re different from me, you’re part of my family and I’m going to stand up for you.” 

And I’m talking about the kind of love that would cause thousands of people to come out on a day like today and come up to the Statehouse and say, “We’re not going to take it anymore.”

Stephanie Mott is a transsexual woman from Topeka, Kansas and a nationally known speaker on transgender issues. In addition, Stephanie is the executive director of Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project and a commissioner on the City of Topeka Human Relations Commission. She can be reached at stephanieequality@yahoo.com

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