Speech to the San Diego Stonewall Rally
Here in my adopted hometown of San Diego, California, I was asked to speak at this year’s San Diego Pride Stonewall Rally about open service for transgender servicemembers in the U.S. military services. The rally was held on July 20, 2012; the 20th through 22nd is Pride Weekend here.
This was an important LGBT year in so many ways: one interesting way was at the Stonewall Rally we raised San Diego’s new monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and LGBT community civil rights: a large rainbow flag was permanently raised on Normal Street. Perhaps it’s incredibly fitting that the flag pole is situated on Normal Street in between Harvey Milk Street and University Avenue — perhaps a fitting commentary on normality of LGBT people, LGBT activism, and the legitimate academic importance of queer studies.
In my speech at the rally, I called on community activism towards open service for transgender servicemembers. Below is the prepared text of that speech:
As you just heard, my name is Autumn Sandeen — and I am a transgender American.
I’m not monster of tooth and claw, scales or deformity: a predator of my peer women in public restrooms. Instead, I am a human being — a citizen of the United States of America. I’m a Persian Gulf War Veteran who retired in 2000 after 20-years of service; I have a 100% VA Disability rating: my invisible disabilities are service connected.
Although I’m not a monster, I’ve engaged in the activism of the monstrous. With GetEqual in 2010, I twice joined lesbian and gay veterans as we handcuffed ourselves to the White House fence over repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We at GetEqual fought for open service for lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers as did many other LGBT activists, such as those activists at the HRC, SLDN, and Servicemembers United.
And ya’ know what? WE WON! We won a victory in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
And yet, it’s an incomplete victory.