From what I’ve seen on this forum, and others, I want to dispel an incorrect opinion.
I suspect that when people hear or see the word <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Activism</span>, the mental image is of someone standing in front of a group, leading a march on the streets, etc. In other words, the image is of a visible activity.
However, there is MUCH more than that and it is rarely, if ever, seen.
- Event planning is mostly done at a distance. For the people that you would interact with, they would largely only know you by name and phone number. Further, the name is only what you tell them.
- Doing financial work for an organization is essentially done out of the public eye. You could even do everything excluding actually signing checks if you don’t want to do that. You could have another officer do that.
- Many organizations keep volunteer records. Probably one of the important things is providing data in order to recognize volunteers for the time that they have put in to support the organization.
- If you have a bit of an artistic bent, there is designing pamphlets and advertisements for organizational activities.
I’ve had involvements on both sides. I’ve been part of event planning teams, I did social media work and was a treasurer of one organization for a bit over 2 years. I’ve held office is various organizations and often that does put me in the public eye. An example of that would be as recent as last night. In my position as Vice-Chair of Desert Stonewall Democrats, I gave a speech at the Palm Springs Juneteenth Celebration. I’ve also been in the media as Chair of the Cathedral City Public Arts Commission. My photo appears online in About Us web pages for one organization and in other listings.
My original thought was to be in positions and organizations to do the work that I thought was significant and good to do. Sort of by accident I realized the importance of visibility. The problem is that to MANY, trans people have a terrible reputation for backstabbing and being flaky and unreliable. Since I am retired and in reasonable shape financially, I don’t have to be concerned about employment. I have no fear of being kicked out of my parents house as I don’t live with them and other issues that befall trans people all too frequently. Therefore, I am able to use my time and energies towards the purpose of doing the work and being out in the community.
Currently I know all of our city council people and mayor here in Cathedral City and several city staff members. I also know all of city council and mayor in Palm Springs. But, of greater importance, they know me. Consequently, I get asked to do some things that others would not.
My wife has a considerable hearing disability. I’ve done a bit of research into a process called the Loop System. In a facility such as a conference room, an auditorium or a movie theater, the audio is broadcast directly to hearing aids. It eliminates the background noise and makes hearing independent of where you happen to be seated. In an area where many come to retire, currently there are no facilities in the entire Coachella Valley (~350,000 people) that have a Loop System (I last checked shortly after the first of this year). Anyway, I passed information and the results of my research to the mayors of Palm Springs and Cathedral City, to our Asst. City Manager and the person who is leading the renovation project of the historic Plaza Theater in downtown Palm Springs. Now, we’ll see what happens in the future, but as I know them all, my messages were received, read, and responses sent.
So, to me, this is what is important. We, as trans people, must be seen as integral members of society. What we do and what we hold dear must be seen in the same way as anyone else. I don’t see how it can be any other way.