What was reiterated in your last paragraph from Jennifer’s message is precisely why I do what I do. Until the end of last month, I held offices in 5 organizations. I didn’t seek a 2nd term on our Public Arts Commission, where I have been Chair for the past 2 years, because I wanted to do some different things. Currently I’m in training to be a docent at the Palm Springs Air Museum and I am also a grant application reviewer for the California Arts Council. Other current involvements are Vice-Chair of one of our Democratic clubs, a Volunteer Coordinator for Palm Springs Pride, Community Liaison Officer for my car club and a Board Member for the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert. In the past, I was a Board Member for a local transgender organization and was Digital Media Coordinator for our local HRC group.
After I retired, what I realized is the trans people are grossly underrepresented in civic and charitable organizations. One major reason for that is that so many trans people are really just hanging on, if that. As of a few years ago, the unemployment rate for trans people was 4 times the national rate. I would doubt if that has changed much in current times. Folks have no time, money and energy left over. It is analogous to the old “barefoot and pregnant” saying. Effectively it is others deciding our fate and activities. I am fortunate in that my situation is different. I had my career and now I’m retired. Clearly we are not wealthy, but we’re OK. So, it is important to me to be out in the world and be seen doing the things that anyone else would do. I am also involved with 2 other groups where I hold no office: a local women’s group, Your Women’s Circle, and the Society of Automotive Historians, Motorsports Section. In all of my involvements, DeeAnn is the person of record. Very few know that Don exists/existed.
I think the overarching thought is this. Given these unprecedented times where the LGBT community is under massive and relentless attack, it is incumbent on all of us that we participate and contribute in any way that we can.
I am reminded of this written by Pastor Martin Niemoller about the events leading up to WW2. It is something that we all must keep in mind:
First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Finally, they came for me and there was no one left to speak out.