EQFL's Tobias Packer Speech Fires Up National Equality Marchers
Here's the text to his speech:
Today I come to you from the frontlines. As a transgender person from Florida who was born and lives and works in a red state in the South, I know first hand what it feels like to be denied employment. To be treated as less than human. I know the pain and fear that comes with the constant reminder that I am not equal under the law.
That WE are not equal under the law.
We stand here in DC where Bayard Rustin stood in 1965- an openly gay Black man who refused to cooperate in his own oppression.
We stand here heirs to his legacy- challenged to stand brave and to keep alive the knowledge that even if we were not taught it, even if the government does not recognize it, even if our neighbors are told to vote against us- we hold these truths to be self-evident- we are equal.
We have come here to tell our stories. There is great power in our stories and in imagining the world as it should be and will one day be.
A world that does not teach others to hate us and us to hate ourselves. A world that does not teach others to harm us. A world that does not teach us to hide and lie just to work and survive. That never took a child away from a parent or denied us the right to hold our dying loved one’s hand because the law pretends our families do not exist.
Our presence here today is testament to the fact that we are closer than ever before. From the halls of congress, to our state capitols and our city commission chambers, and into our living rooms--- our stories are being told and our country is changing.
We have traveled to DC impatient, energized, angry. But our impatience, our energy and our anger alone are not enough. We must be willing to commit ourselves to living authentic lives and sharing our stories at our dinner tables, in our workplaces.
To risk safety and comfort in exchange for full legal equality across America.
To those working tirelessly in the trenches to secure our freedoms in cities and counties and states and here in Washington. I say THANK YOU.
Your efforts, OUR sacrifice have brought us to a moment when nationwide equality is within our reach.
To those who join this struggle now or return to the frontlines. We need you now more than ever before.
The young and old. The tried and true. The new and daring. The steady and the bold.
My wish for this march is that we all recommit to stepping beyond our comfort zone. Recommit our time, talent and treasure to this fight for full equality under the law all across America.
And it begins here today. It begins NOW.
Bayard Rustin said
“When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.”
This gathering is an act of self-respect. A reclaiming of our dignity.
A moment for us to tell congress, the President, our families, our neighbors and ourselves.
We will settle for nothing less than full equality under the law all across America.