Florida transgendered man speaks at National Equality March in D.C.

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Today I come to you from the frontlines. As a transgender person from


Florida who was born and lives and works in a red state in the South,


I know first hand what it feels like to be denied employment. To be


treated as less than human. I know the pain and fear that comes with


the constant reminder that I am not equal under the law.


That WE are not equal under the law.


We stand here in DC where Bayard Rustin stood in 1965- an openly gay


Black man who refused to cooperate in his own oppression.


We stand here heirs to his legacy- challenged to stand brave and to


keep alive the knowledge that even if we were not taught it, even if


the government does not recognize it, even if our neighbors are told


to vote against us- we hold these truths to be self-evident- we are


equal.


We have come here to tell our stories. There is great power in our


stories and in imagining the world as it should be and will one day be.


A world that does not teach others to hate us and us to hate


ourselves. A world that does not teach others to harm us. A world that


does not teach us to hide and lie just to work and survive. That never


took a child away from a parent or denied us the right to hold our


dying loved one's hand because the law pretends our families do not


exist.


Our presence here today is testament to the fact that we are closer


than ever before. From the halls of congress, to our state capitols


and our city commission chambers, and into our living rooms--- our


stories are being told and our country is changing.


We have traveled to DC impatient, energized, angry. But our


impatience, our energy and our anger alone are not enough. We must be


willing to commit ourselves to living authentic lives and sharing our


stories at our dinner tables, in our workplaces.


To risk safety and comfort in exchange for full legal equality across


America.


To those working tirelessly in the trenches to secure our freedoms in


cities and counties and states and here in Washington. I say THANK YOU.


Your efforts, OUR sacrifice have brought us to a moment when


nationwide equality is within our reach.


To those who join this struggle now or return to the frontlines. We


need you now more than ever before.


The young and old. The tried and true. The new and daring. The steady


and the bold.


My wish for this march is that we all recommit to stepping beyond our


comfort zone. Recommit our time, talent and treasure to this fight for


full equality under the law all across America.


And it begins here today. It begins NOW.


Bayard Rustin said


"When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his


dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on


him."


This gathering is an act of self-respect. A reclaiming of our dignity.


A moment for us to tell congress, the President, our families, our


neighbors and ourselves.


We will settle for nothing less than full equality under the law all


across America.

In the current issue of CL,  we reported on the National Equality March, which took place in Washington D.C. yesterday.

On Saturday night, President Obama addressed the Human Rights Campaign,  the nation's largest gay rights group, where he said he has urged Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act.

But a fellow Democrat who presumably Mr. Obama was referring to said on Sunday that he wasn't ready to repeal DOMA.

Pennsylvania's Bob Casey told CNN's John King that ""I've said in the past I don't think that's the way to go. We can move forward on a lot of measures, but I'm not sure there's the support yet for that."

Meanwhile, speaking at Sunday's event in D.C. was Tobias Packer, who is affiliated with Equality Florida and who was interviewed for our piece.

Listed below are his  comments:

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