I abhor vigilantism and lynch mobs.
They generally accomplish nothing and generate sympathy for those targeted.
For some 50 years I have listened to non-violence activists warn of the dangers of becoming as bad as those who do violence against us.
Leelah’s suicide is a tragedy.
Having had friends I loved commit suicide I can empathize with the pain and recriminations her parents must be facing at this time.
Hounding them won’t bring Leelah back, nor will it prevent more trans-folks from taking their lives.
It is a new year…
Time to support organizations like Trans Lifeline 1-877-565-8860.
Make a donation in Leelah’s name. The next time a Facebook Friend writes a message of desperation on their wall reach out to them with an encouraging word.
Answer pleas for help.
Last fall, Tina and I issued a plea for help when we were in a desperate situation and many of our friends responded and their help saved us from foreclosure.
Community isn’t just about activism or identity it is about being there and being sensitive when one hears a cry for help.
We can end reparative therapy and sue those practicing it until they are homeless. That would be a good thing.
But with age I have gained some measure of wisdom and experience tells me no good will come of trashing Leelah’s parents. Indeed more good might come from showing them kindness and sympathy.
January 1, 2015 at 10:12 pm
This tragedy, one of so many thousands over recent years, is repugnant to me. Fundamentalist Religious Groups spouting dogma and recrimination, circa 30 AD thinking, cause these kinds of tragic endings for our youth. They actually want to bring back “stoning”. I think that this kind of religion is a mental disease. I know Leelah was not sick or diseased. She was ALONE.
I was alone like that. I am married (26 years together) and have a wonderful husband, but outside of him, I am still alone, except for a few fine trans-women on Facebook. I used to play jazz piano. But the truth is that jazz is openly hostile to women and gay or lesbian musicians. And trans-women? The jazzers can’t even talk. They get all emotional. Their prejudice is embarrassing to see. Xenophobia? You bet. And the worst kind.
I admit it! They managed to make Jessica Williams feel really small and insignificant and—well, freakish. My self-esteem was zero. There I was, everyone in the audience thinking “gee, she’s great at the piano and she’s pretty too.” And back-stage, the promoters and musicians are laughing at raunchy and daft jokes about “sex-changes” . . .
So now I don’t play jazz anymore. I won’t hurt myself like that. It’s been almost 4 years now with no jazz in my life. I do not miss it. I am a healthier woman now. I don’t know what I’ll do with my future but it probably includes advocacy for trans rights. We’re human, after all. We should have rights.
When I go to the store with my husband, do you think it makes any difference to anyone that my chromosomes are XY? Heck, I was born with A.I.S. I’m not even sure they ARE XY . . . even if they are, what people see is a woman. All woman. I could not “pass” as a man if you glued a beard to me and shaved my head and bound my breasts and plugged my vaginal canal. I am not who or what you say I am, Criminal Christian Bigots. I am not a whore to be abused by your delusions of god-hood.
I REFUSE TO SUBJECT MYSELF TO YOUR CRIMINAL ABUSE.
Fundamentalist Religious fanatics may believe they have destroyed my music. They have not. I have a contract with Universal Studios and movie scoring work. I am no longer a part of the jazz world. As it enters the 2nd decade of the 21st century, it is the least inclusive, least tech-savvy, and least “socially-oriented” music of its age. It is all about the ego of the men who still play it. It is all about power and domination. And it is dying from its own elitist isolationism.
As for Leelah’s parents, I am not in a forgiving mood. They are accessories to murder. They were not there for their child.
January 2, 2015 at 12:03 am
You are a wonderfully gifted musician.
January 2, 2015 at 12:25 am
Jessica, you are a wonderful musician. I have many of your CD’s and listened to them a lot back when I actually had a sound system (stuff is still in storage since the flood last year – Dec.19, 2013). I’m looking forward to getting my gear back in operation soon. In any case, I really miss your music and am sorry you are no longer playing. I wish you all the best in the future. It is a new year, perhaps we will both have a year better than the last.
January 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm
May we both have a year better than the last! You said it, tinagrrl. Ever had one of those days. Bad day? Well, this was a “legendary bad day”, to quote Riddick. I got up today and played a jazz tune. It’s all still there, like riding a bike. The music is still a powerful medicine. From now on, IF I use a band again, I will hire only women and minorities, including trans women. I am not playing with bigots anymore. It makes the music a competitive farce. “Go FAST”. I’ll go any darned speed I want to. It’s MY music, now, not yours, bigots. Don’t worry. I won’t stop. But I won’t compete and I won’t play old stuff. I’ll play my stuff, my way. Love.
January 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm
Can we send CNN this post?
January 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm
Obviously the link didn’t go through. I’ll try again. Here: