Monday, May 12, 2008

An Open Letter to HRC

Dear HRC,

Many things have happened since Southern Comfort, 2007. Transgender people have been taken to extreme heights of hope and depths of despair, all in a very short time. Words flowed back and forth between both sides of the issue, many that were not very pleasant to hear. We said them and they filled pages and pages of blogs and web sites across the WWW. History will judge us all harshly when that time comes. Are we prepared for what will be found? We can only speak for ourselves, individually.

That is why I am writing this letter. I have to speak for myself, as an individual, and not as a so-called leader in the transgender community. I have struggled these past months; with images of disadvantaged trans people I have known flooding my mind. I need to start following the teaching of Jesus, because in His words I find comfort. I need to settle with you, HRC.

I discovered that in order for me to better serve Jesus and do what He has set before me, whatever that may be, I have to forgive those who have hurt me. I have resisted for a long time the need to forgive you, because the hurt is so very deep. I keep seeing Alice Johnston in my mind. Because HRC was not willing to fight for total equality, Alice felt she had no alternative but to take her own life. However, my Pastor reminded me that Alice is with God and she is now without worry. Yes, she is, and I forgive you.

I have carried my anger toward you for a long time and I have acted foolishly because of it. I cannot be expected to do something out of love for the transgender community if I carry around anger toward those who have hurt me. Anger and love cannot occupy the same space at the same time. It is against the laws of physics. It is also hypocritical to my faith.

I know that it will be difficult for some of my friends in the transgender community to understand why I am forgiving you. It is the risk I have to take if I am to be about justice, act mercifully and walk humbly with God. Each person has to settle this with their God in their own way, including any of you on the Board of HRC who saw fit to support removing us from equality. It is not my place to judge.

There will be times in the future where you will once again anger the transgender community. I cannot let those moments detract me from what I am doing and what I can do to help my community. The relevance of your organization has been minimized by the greater good of my community. My God will always guide my heart and my soul on the path of inclusion, no matter what the cost.

I only hope that all of us, the HRC Board included, can be shown a way to do justice that includes all the letters of our community. When you fall short, I will be there to remind you. When you step ahead, I will be there to honor you. I hope you will forgive me for my harsh words and judgment as I have forgiven you for excluding the people of my community from your process. I pray that one day, you too will see that equality is for all and not just for those who pass as “gender normal.”

So, I forgive you and I hope you have a peaceful life.

Monica F. Helms

Marietta, GA

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