She is one of thousands of TGs--young and older--who have had similar responses to the absurdity of society's reactions to the simple fact of our existence. But for some reason, Leelah's specific circumstances and her voice have risen above the clutter, have become a clarion call for change. So across the country there have been vigils, marches, rallies in her name, and each of them wanted what was wanted in Washington: desperately needed reform. Make conversion therapy illegal, just for starters. Treat transpeople like human beings.
I live and work in the Chicago suburbs, but because I happen to know one of the rally's organizers I was asked if I would like to speak. I'm a good choice, as the first transgender teacher in the nation, a transgender parent, and the parent of a transgender child. Not a bad trifecta when it comes down to it, and it was on these subjects that I was asked to expound. Of course I agreed, so on a very cold day in DC--maybe not as cold as Chicago, but then I am not foolish enough to stand around outside making speeches in Chicago--I found myself today in Mt. Vernon Square speaking into a portable microphone to a few hundred people who had gathered in front of a library.
What follows is the speech I gave.