At the Californian Transgender Advocacy Day for 2012 (CTAD 2012), as a citizen lobbyist I met with a staffer of my State Senator Christine Kehoe, my State Assemblymember Toni Atkins, as well as with Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. The Transgender Law Center’s Director Of Operations Gretchen Lintner accompanied me in my citizen lobbying visit to Senator Kehoe’s office, and The Transgender Law Center’s Director Masen Davis accompanied Gretchen and me when we visited with Assemblymembers Atkins and Lowenthal.
So why would I be in the group to meet with Assemblymember Lowenthal?
CTAD 2012 was taking place on Monday, May 21, 2012. I was there at that brief meeting to let her know my court date to legally change my gender was going to occur on the very next day in San Diego, and I was accomplishing that under the guidelines of the new law she authored and sponsored just the year earlier. My voice cracked when I spoke to her — it was a very emotional moment.
I don’t remember if it was Masen or Gretchen who mentioned it to the assemblymember, but a trans youth in our lobbying contingent is also going to be able to take advantage of the change that law within the next few months. That youth would then no longer be legally misgendered by the state, as well as legally misgendered by school systems — specifically because AB 433 has passed into law.
We thanked Assemblymember Lowenthal for not only the benefits the Vital Statistics Modernization Act provided to trans adults but also for spearheading the real world opportunity for our trans youth to receive the same benefit from the new law as our state’s trans adults.
When I think about being on the planned receiving end of hate for my legal change of gender, and that the hate still continues to be expressed regarding my recent legal change of gender (such as here and here), I think about that trans youth I met this past Monday (May 21, 2012). Trans youth deserve a better world in which to grow up, and AB 433 will help them have it — my trans adult peers deserve that better world as well. AB 433 wasn’t about my needs, but instead it’s about the needs of a broader trans community.
Sometimes we forget that civil rights aren’t about just us, but are instead about justice. Sometimes we forget that we as individuals are at our human best when we remember to rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to consider the broader concerns of broader groups…even to the point of considering the broader concerns of all humanity.¹ We can’t just seek to achieve our own goals, or validate our own experiences, and forget about progress and prosperity of others…forget about progress and prosperity of those who already do, and of those who in upcoming years, need ordinary equality and justice after us. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes as well as our own.²
I don’t believe Assemblymember Lowenthal can be thanked enough for the good she spearheaded for California’s trans people; I especially don’t believe she can be thanked enough for the good she spearheaded for California’s trans youth. I’m glad I had the opportunity to personally thank her.
* What Trans People In California Lobbied For Last Monday