" I was born in 1958, a very different time for our society. As a child I remember my parents taking me downtown, and passing under the sign that hung over Lee Street. “Welcome to Greenville, the blackest land, the whitest people” it read.
The Hunt county court house had public water fountains that read ‘Whites only’ as did their bathrooms.
I would listen to my grandfather talk to other old men at the barber shop. “Ruining the country” they would say. “The women and children just aren’t safe”. They were talking about African Americas wanting equal access to bathrooms.
My Father was a dentist and had to have two patent waiting rooms, one for whites and one for coloreds.
I found out later that there were no African American dentists in town and my fa- ther was the only dentist who would treat people of color. This made him unpopu- lar with many in our town.
As time went by I began to notice things on the news. Protest marches on Washing- ton. Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were regular stories. One day my dad’s office suddenly had only one waiting room. The ‘Whites only’ signs around town, and the sign over Lee street had disappeared.
Then the news was about radical feminists and how they were destroying the val- ues of the country. More protests. Bra burnings. My mother talking about Gloria Steinem constantly. Women marched on Washington demanding to be treated with respect and equality.
Next the talk was all about how gay teachers would corrupt our children. Televan- gelists damned them to eternal torment from their commercial pulpits.
But laws criminalizing gay relationships were challenged. Challenges popped up all across the country. Gay pride became a thing. Washington was once again the recipient of mass marches.
Humans form who they are by their experiences. We learn by absorbing everything around us. We learn to predict what will happen based on what we have observed.
My entire life seems to have been spent watching one group after another stand up and demand the rights that all humans deserves.
I have also watched the battle to prevent these rights by those who assume to be superior. I have seen how they fight and the tactics they use over and over again.
The transgender right movement has been criticized for making comparisons to the struggles that African American have long suffered. What the critics don’t under- stand is that we are not comparing our struggle to theirs, we are comparing the tac- tics of our oppressors to the tactics of theirs.
Labeling the oppressed as a danger to the public to stoking the flames of hatred have been applied to People of color, Feminists ,homosexuals, and now they are applied to me.
The oppressors use misdirection and Fear mongering to drive the public into a frenzy.
But when they lost ground to African Americans and Feminists they turned their ire on Gay and Lesbian Americans. When they lost the supreme court fight against equal marriage they turned to transgender people.
Now they are ringing the bells far and wide about the eminent threat from the ‘Transgender agenda’ or as we were called last month before the Senate committee on state affairs, the 'Trans Mafia’.
They bring this battle to us, as if we suddenly appeared on earth like an alien in- vader. They believe the transgender community to be an easy target, We are not.
We are your neighbors, your friends, your relatives. We are the parents of precious transgender children.
We are up to this challenge because this is not just about our rights. This is about all humans rights.
One day everyone will treated with respect and equality, and history will tell the story.
Ladies and gentleman of the committee, what side of history do you want to be on?"