Hi, my name’s Tobi Hill-Meyer. I’m one of the co-executive directors of Gender Justice League, and I’m a commissioner for the Washington State LGBTQ Commission representing Thurston County. This has been a difficult year to celebrate Pride. Isolation has always been a challenge for trans people, and many of us have struggled to connect with community during the stay-at-home order.
Gender Justice League runs a small shelter and works with trans people experiencing gender based violence. Let me tell you, it can be hard to shelter in place when you’re dealing with housing insecurity and violence can quickly escalate when you’re stuck at home with an abuser. The shelters are not set up for trans and non binary people, and that leaves many people with nowhere to go. Also, the ongoing police killings of black people have been devastating. Tony McDade, a black transgender man, was killed by Tallahassee police recently, and what few media reports there are have been misgendering him. There’s a curfew in our own city. We have to demand better. That’s what’s on my mind when I’m talking to people about celebrating Pride.
I agree, we still need Pride, now more than ever, but I don’t want a party that just pretends our pain doesn’t exist or ignores it. I want something that recognizes it’s kind of a challenge to celebrate right now that that is something we have to fight for. I want a celebration that helps move us through the pain and acknowledges that we are powerful and together we can overcome anything thrown our way.
This is the eighth year that Gender Justice League has put on trans Pride Seattle, and this year we’re working with several other organizations to take it online and to every corner of the state. I hope that whatever your struggle looks like, you can find a moment to connect with others. Stay in solidarity with each other, demand accountability from people in power, and remember that we’re in this together. Trans people plus action can do incredible things. That’s what Pride is here to celebrate, and that’s what we’re going to do when we come together later this month. I hope you join us.