My letter to President-elect Obama on the website Change. gov. I know it won’t make a difference, especially from a non-American, but I figured better to speak and be ignored than never speak and be silent in the background. I did that too often in life.
It was the summer of 1992. Although Ottawa can be a cold city in the winter, in the summer it can be as blistering hot. I was heavily vested in politics. I believed then that if I only acted,if I participated in campaigns, that I might make a difference.
My grandmother called to tell me that my mom had been murdered, a victim, another number, in the domestic violence statistics. Instead, the difference was against me. It was profound. I learned quickly that politics of the time was lip service and only for the benefit of the few. I didn’t fully understand this but as time passed, I learned what it truly meant. For almost 15 years, I remained apolitical, resigned to the fact that no one in politics was really there to make a difference.
In 2006, I started to finally live my life as I began to transition (FtM) and did so as a Canadian working in the US under a legitimate work visa. Even still, I was scared that my transition would cause border agents to question me and potentially prevent me from entering the US, whether for legitimate work or for my love of my partner, a US citizen that I was now living with.
Today, I want to make a difference again, Mr. President-elect. I read “Audicity of Hope” and felt that spark I once had. I believe again, sir, that hope can come from the change that those in civil service can provide. As a trans person who has started to fully transition (medical shots and surgery soon), I live in fear of my life. While I am not at the level as others (POC transwomen or those that live in stealth for fear of lost children, rights, jobs or lives), it is still a reality.
I’ve been a resident now of the US for a year and in that time I’ve come to appreciate what this concept of the American Dream is. It is amazing how great the American population is and while I’m an outsider living inside and looking in, I would offer this: my vision for the US to reclaim the dream and be truly equal for all regardless of color, sex, sexual orientation, religion or gender.
The US has always been the ideal of freedom and understanding but it’s often been viewed as an illusion. Perhaps it’s time to turn that illusion into reality.
Congratulations to you and your VP-elect, Biden. In Canada, we say that the Prime Minister is the Right Honourable Member of Parliament. I’ve always chuckled at that with cynicism. Today, I’d say you represent what it means to be a “Right Honourable” Politician.