A new nonprofit created public space for transgender veterans as Trump’s transgender military ban went into effect Friday*.
The Minority Veterans of America (MVA), based in Seattle, hosted rallies in three cities. New York, Philidelphia and Seattle. While attendance was light, the message loomed large: we support you and will do so until the ban is lifted.
Partnering agencies included, National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender American Veterans Association, The American Military Partner Association, Gender Justice League, Seattle LGBTQ Commission, U.T.O.P.I.A., King County Veterans Consortium, Ingersoll Gender Center, Seattle Women’s Commission, NYC Veterans Alliance, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Steel City Stonewall Democrats.
What I particularly liked about participating in the rally was its purpose:
“To build community space for our transgender service members and veterans to express themselves and find community as well as to build power through standing in solidarity with those impacted by this policy.”
I resonate with that. It’s better helping transgender veterans find empowerment. Doing so has far more beneficial effect than “fighting against”. This applies to anything people want to improve or change.
It’s standard practice these days to push against that which is unjust. The ban is unjust (and perhaps illegal). But pushing against it or trying to shout it down fuels the ban’s continued existence.
Lindsay Church, MVA President and co-founder reiterated her organization’s message at the Seattle event. This this was not a time for shouting or anger, she said. Rather, the rallies serve to build solidarity among underrepresented military veterans.
That’s a story me and The Transamorous Network can get behind.
In your personal life, if you’re a transgender service person, you may feel, angry, disempowered, depressed, anxious or fear. You don’t have to experience that. Negative emotions come from somewhere. They come from stories you’re telling yourself about what you’re looking at. You can just as easily tell positive stories about what you’re looking at. Instead of the ones creating your negative emotions. In doing so, you create exactly what you’re wanting: improvement. However that looks.
Even with the ban, there are a lot of stories you could tell that will empower you. They’ll conjure positive emotions about the ban (yes, actual positive emotions). Focus on those stories long enough and you’ll create a reality where the ban has little if any impact on your life. Down the line, you might discover the ban no longer exists.
There stories can replace ones making you feel angry, disempowered, depressed, anxious, or fear. They are as true as the negative stories you’re telling yourself today. But you’ll notice, if you tell them, you’ll feel better about what’s happening.
Feeling better is important. It’s telling you you are connected to an improved future as opposed to a future of more of the same. Feeling better is more powerful than you may know. If you’re new to our content, this may sound alien. But it’s accurate.
The following stories will trigger positive emotions even though the ban is in place:
- This has happened before. And in every case such bans have fallen
- I’m happy to see so many people working on my behalf to lift the ban
- It’s incredible how many people are working on my behalf
- I know I am on the right side of history
- I know the world is becoming safer for transgender people
- I know more LGBTQ and women are wining local, state and federal elections and so the future is bright for me
- The California National Guard is refusing to implement the ban, that’s freaking awesome!
- Over 100 congress persons oppose the ban, with many working behind the scenes to eliminate it. That’s awesome, there are a lot of people working on my behalf.
- I appreciate those transgender service people directly impacted by the ban. They are the true casualties of this “war” on civil rights. While there are casualties in every war, it’s clear we will win this one. So the casualties will not be for nothing.
- I appreciate those transgender service people speaking their truth out loud. They’re becoming celebrities in their own right. That alone may change their lives for the better. Were it not for this ban that may not have happened. So there’s good stuff coming from this too.
There are a lot more I could offer, but I feel better reading those ten. Maybe you too. And of course, your reality must fall in line with any story you tell consistently in your life. Any story triggering emotional response creates reality if you don’t oppose it. Yes, such stories even change political reality.
A state of freedom, empowerment and positivity is the only state from which one can help others. MVA’s rally Saturday recognized community can be more powerful than resisting. It was beautiful to both watch and take part in.
Particularly impressive was U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Patricia King. She zeroed in on the main culprit sparking this ban: ignorance. The people acting out of ignorance aren’t bad. They’re ignorant. Can you get mad at someone who’s ignorant? Maybe. But does that fix anything? Or is it better to help that person rise out of ignorance?
I think the latter is so much more productive. And, it can create an ally.
One thing I shared during my speech was how important one-on-one conversations are. Patricia spoke about this too. One-on-one conversations with people on the opposite side of the issue can be powerful. That way, people can learn transgender people are human. Not boogymen.
Here are some helpful tips on doing that, from our sister organization Positively Focused. They’re worth looking at.
There’s so much more I could say about these events and MVA. They are rising at the right time in history. I met MVA’s senior leadership over the weekend. Quite an impressive team. Everyone has their hearts in the right place. And they overflow with talent, compassion and commitment for helping underrepresented minority veterans.
I’m eager to see how MVA creates space for community going forward. I can’t help think those results will help non-veteran transgender people too. After all, the minority veteran community is a reflection of our national one.
And as we’re all human, we’re all in this together.