Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Jake Bailey
Business Manger
Sierra Service Project

Transgender Day of Remembrance is always a hard day for me. It is a time when we remember all of the Trans people whose lives were lost in acts of Anti-Transgender violence. People who were killed for no other reason than that they were true to themselves; and that act caused someone to feel deceived or offended to decide that their lives should be cut short. The majority of Trans people who are killed are trans women of color, who face both Transphobia and Racism. And unfortunately the number keeps growing each year, with at least 25 deaths in the US so far in 2017.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is important is because our lives matter! Trans people are human beings. Their names and stories could be forgotten if we don’t celebrate their lives after they’re gone. Trans remembrance is also important because these murders are hate crimes. Yet they are usually not prioritized by police and often go unsolved. In remembering those we’ve lost, we remind ourselves these things still happen. Lives will be lost, and things won’t change unless people are aware and take action. As a Trans man, it is also a reminder that if the wrong people find out that I am trans and get angry enough about it, that I too could be killed. Any of us could. But Transgender Day of Remembrance is most importantly about community and being there for each other through the good and the bad. Being a Trans man is a huge part of who I am, and it is important in my relationships with friends and in shaping my values.

So what are some things that we can do this year to make our communities a safer place for Trans people?

  1. Don’t out anyone. Coming out is a personal decision, and can be a risky one. Don’t put someone else’s life on the line by trying to share their story. If you need an example to educate someone, don’t use their name or identifying information.
  2. Make sure that the spaces you inhabit (work, school, home, church, etc.) are safe places for Trans people. That could mean having gender neutral bathrooms accessible, or specifically letting Trans people know that they are welcome.
  3. Stand up for Trans people. If you hear someone being harassed or bullied because of their gender, check to see if they are okay and stay with them. Tell the perpetrators to stop, and call for help if needed.
  4. Educate your family and friends about the Trans community. The more that people know about someone, the less likely they are to fear or feel threatened by them. We are all human and have more similarities than we have differences.
  5. Fight against discriminatory legislation. Whether it is a bathroom bill, employment discrimination protections, ID change laws, or transgender people being banned from the military, pay attention to what laws are being proposed and let your representatives know how you feel about them.
  6. Support Trans visibility in politics and the media. Whether it is a Trans person running for office or a Trans actor on your favorite TV show, representation matters. For transgender children and youth, seeing people like them means that they have role models to aspire towards. And for cisgender people it helps humanize Trans people and can change opinions.
  7. Don’t support politicians or businesses that are hostile to Trans people. With enough pressure from the general population, Anti-LGBT business will go out of business and politicians will get voted out. Make this a non-negotiable criteria.

Editor’s Note: Jake has been the Business Manager at SSP since 2013 and served as a youth volunteer and Staff-In-Training. Jake graduated in 2011 from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Women and Gender Studies with distinction. He was also the first person to graduate from Sonoma State with a Queer Studies minor. Refresh your knowledge of LGBTQ+ language.

My SSP SIT Experience

My SSP SIT Experience

By Sara Platnick

Spiritual Life Coordinator in Chiloquin, OR

 

I always enjoyed my experiences with SSP as a youth. I loved travelling with my church over a long car ride to some remote place where I would get to learn more about the community I was in, gain some construction skills, and meet new people.

Being a Staff-in-Training (SIT) at SSP helped me see a side to SSP that I never got to see as a youth. Though I am the daughter of a board member and went as a camper six times, I never truly understood what SSP is and what it stands for until I spent a week as a staff-in-training.

I never truly understood what SSP is and what it stands for until I spent a week as a staff member.

SSP brings a sweep of change to the cities it helps. In Smith River, youth were clearing acres of non-native plants, building fences, stairs, and ramps, and painting buildings. On the more personal level, I began to see what SSP brings to youths’ lives. SSP is a safe space, a place for people to explore and figure out who they are and what they believe. This was a place that I helped shape and contributed to.

Beyond that, being an SIT helped me to understand what it means to be a staffer. Staffing requires more time, energy, and responsibility than anyone would bargain for. I admit that before my SIT experience I never gave the staff credit for how much work it is. You are up late building a community with the rest of the staff and up early cooking breakfast or preparing construction tools. You are constantly moving and doing something, whether that means preparing snack or the evening program, organizing the tool shed, or spending time with youth.

You are up late building a community with the rest of the staff and up early cooking breakfast or preparing construction tools.

But even after seeing this exhausting side to SSP, it has made me even more excited to be on staff this summer in Chiloquin. Now, I know exactly what I get to look forward to. I know that this summer I get to build a great and supportive community with my staff, I get to meet youth and counselors, I get to watch construction projects get completed, and I get to grow in my faith in God.

I know I am going to learn a tremendous amount over my 10 weeks on staff because if I could gain so much joy and growth from one week, I can only imagine what I will get over a whole summer.

So if you have ever wondered what the other side of SSP looks like, or if you’ve ever thought that being on staff looks like I lot of fun, I encourage you to apply to be an SIT. Even if you are unsure about being on staff, I would still say apply because you never know if your mind will change plus you gain great friends, experiences, and growth in the process.

 

Editor’s Note: Staff-in-Training applications are available now and due May 15. If you know a young adult who would benefit from the SIT program, encourage them to apply today!

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