Tuesday, January 20, 2009

May I Have the Audacity to Hope?

President Obama's Inauguration Speech

There is no doubt, today is an historic day and a day in which I am truly proud to be an American. The inauguration of an African-American as our 44th President is an amazing thing to witness. I am truly moved to tears of joy this day. And yet.....

It has been a lesson learned first hand, as a transgender woman, that I am not always included. Political advocates have dropped me rather than carry me across the threshold of equal employment provisions. Social service groups have cast me aside rather than take me in from the cold - may sister Jennifer Gale now find warmth in the arms of Jesus. People of faith have not only suggested I have no place in God's house, but have built multimillion-dollar organizations to vilify me and my lesbian and gay brothers and sisters.

I heard your words today, Mr. President:

"The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that
all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

The emphasis on
all was yours spoken fully and forcefully. Does that include me? May I have the Audacity to Hope? Once bitten, twice shy am I. And its really more than once bitten.

Mine is a journey I wish upon no one. I followed the best advice of expert emotional therapeutic care. I did the same for physical medical assistance. I did everything by the book, and by the law. And I find a nation willing to let me be fired from my job, deny me my identity, take away the very rights and privileges conferred upon the people of our nation at birth that I had the audacity to believe would remain my heritage as I transitioned. Foolish me.

I do not seek sympathy or pity, I am genuinely happy and secure in who I am, who I have become and who I will always be. But I do seek justice and fairness and equality. Those are the very ideals upon which our nation was founded. Just give me the chance to continue participate fully in the richness and opportunity of the American experience. Show me I can have the Audacity to Hope. Does your "all" include me?

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