Pride 2020 Speech

I want to start by honoring that black trans lives matter, so we are going to take a moment of silence to remember those who have been taken from us too soon. -moment of silence is one minute-
We did that because last year, 91% of transgender lives taken from our community were black trans women. And this year we keep seeing more and more black transgender lives being murdered from our community, the majority before the age of 40 years old. This is devastating to me as a transgender male that this year alone, DURING A PANDEMIC nonetheless, a total of 16 lives have been murdered just because of the simple fact of wanting to live as they are. We grow up in a society here in America that has few to no resources in school for our transgender community where we spend most of our early days in life. We grow up being told that it is “wrong” or to hide away in fear that we’ll get murdered at an early age. At least that is how it was for me…

When I first tried to come out of the closet to my mom right after high school, my mom’s reaction taught me fear. She did not want me to be out of the closet because of my father and my oldest brother. Over the years, we had a hard time seeing eye to eye until I was able to look at it from every angle to be able to teach her that it’s ok because I love who I am. My oldest brother came around until 3 years ago when I came out as Leo, and my dad tries maybe once every 6 months to get in touch with me. During all of this, my LGBTQ therapist in WA state sexually assaulted me on several different occasions and my “roommate” who never paid any rent or utilities threatened my life. It was a whirlwind of a year to come out, and yet I did it anyway. I did it because I was done, I was tired, I was exhausted of carrying everyone else’s issues for so long that I didn’t even know who I was until I moved to Washington in 2017 where I decided to let everyone know that I AM LEO and my pronouns are HE/HIM. I found myself out there by doing drag at a local LGBTQ bar. My drag daddy was the one who pulled me aside for a lunch outing one day and asked me how I feel when doing drag as a Drag King. He then mentioned a word that I now know myself to be, Transgender. I had no idea what being transgender was or even what it meant.

Being transgender, to me, means to be yourself 110% and to LOVE yourself 2x that amount. For many, it can be terrifying to come out because of how the media has portrayed us by actors who aren’t even transgender themselves. Transgender means not being boxed in by life, transgender is freedom. As a nerd of many fandoms, especially the Supernatural/Star Wars fandom, opening up to those people with similar interests has been my way of finding what family truly means to me. Family isn’t always the ones that you share a bloodline with, but more so family is those who accept and love you as you are while encouraging you to grow. That’s how I feel comfortable sharing a small snippet of my story with my LGBTQ family today. My bloodline family didn’t steal PRIDE from me. My old LGBTQ therapist didn’t steal PRIDE from me. My domestic abuser didn’t steal PRIDE from me. I still have my TRANSGENDER PRIDE, I still have LOVE for all of you here today. I still have an abundance of LOVE for my LGBTQ family. And I wouldn’t trade my experiences, good or bad, for anything in the world because it’s made me who I am today. I am a strong, confident Transgender man and I am DAMN PROUD to be speaking to you all today. If you ever need someone to listen, my Instagram is LeoMFTyme and I would be happy to help however I can. Thank you for your time today! Now let’s hear it for our LGBTQ community

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