Utrecht Pride Protest Speech (EN)

Do you know what Trans Lives Matter means? What it means to say Black Lives Matter? And refugees lives matter?

It is about abolishing a system that has its colonial origins: we are talking about a system that has enslaved black people. The result of colonialism we still experience today is institutional racism, where black people are killed by police violence; black people and people of color are racially profiled by the government, tax authorities, police, in education and when looking for a home.

We, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) are assumed perpetrators until proven otherwise. We are characterized as primitive and unintelligent because we come from so-called third world countries. But how do we end up as coming from the ‘third world’ countries? What have contributed to our poverty? Who  have plundered our lands and destroyed our nature?

Colonialism is far from over, but continues under a new name and in a new form: namely capitalism. We are in this neo-colonial era, where BIPOC people are still systematically exploited and massacred.

We are fleeing from our countries, because of the destruction of nature, because of wars and poverty. Thousands of people risk their lives every day to cross the Mediterranean Sea: more than 44,000 people drowned while crossing, and another 10,000 children have disappeared without a trace, that they probably fell victim to organ donor for the western empire.

Our lives do matter. I would never have come to the Netherlands with my family if we had not been destroyed for a long time. Afghanistan, the country where I was born and raised, has been ravaged by war for 40 years, by interference from the West. Every day that is built, the next day is plagued by an attack on a school, hospital or a market. Trump dropped the mother of all bombs on Afghanistan and it was completely silent in the Netherlands. But also within our own queer community. Then why do you say refugees lives matter?

The same goes for trans lives matter, what does it mean when you voice it?

First of all, everyone glorifies and romanticizes the Stonewall riots. But the reality is that black and brown trans women were fighting for their lives! They battled poverty, homelessness, racism transfusion and police brutality. They threw the first stones and fought back, because their lives were pushed to the edge, and that they had no other choice. But they fought not only for themselves, but for the entire community.

Their fight was eventually hijacked by white lesbians and gay men. As we can see today, our struggle, the Pride, has not only been hijacked by corporations, banks and political parties, our struggle has been whitewashed. Today it is white lesbians, non-binary people and gay men, under the heading of queer, who are hijacking our struggle. But in the meantime they have no understanding of history or politics, and yet they are at the forefront.

Marsha P. Johnsen and Sylvia Rivera, and many other trans people have not fought so that only you can be in the front. We have and will continue to fight, because we are against existing labels. Trans rights is thus about criticism of the existing binary system and hierarchical power structures, which this class society has brought about.

Be aware of your own internalized transphobia, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and heteronormative values.

We have always known that gender is fluid. That you don’t have to be alone or the other. When we say ‘Trans Lives matter’, we fight for basic human rights, which also benefits you. Trans Lives matter means a struggle against oppressive systems, existing hierarchical power structures, and imposed compartments. That means against patriarchy, racism, poverty, police brutality, and housing shortage. We are also in favor of decent education, labor and economic human dignity.

So from now on, know what it means and immerse yourself in the matter. And why I say that is because there is a lot of transphobia in our own community. We trans people are always the ones who stand alone and go home alone. It is therefore more than logical that we do not feel safe, especially in lesbian circles. Trans women are not real women and trans men suddenly fall into the cisman category. We are either intoxicated or spat out. We are not queer enough because we conform to the norm for our safety. It is therefore more than logical that trans women isolate themselves, have developed a lot of mental problems and that suicide rates are 9x higher than among cisgender people.

We are not your slogan.

We are not your battleground.

We are human beings and our struggle goes beyond being gender nonconforming.

Trans Lives Matter.

Now you know what it means.


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