My name is Mike and thank you for making space today for Trans Travellers.
I find surviving in a world where gender and my culture are seen in conflict to be very difficult. As a Trans man I am learning and growing to accept who I am rather than who the world has told me to be, while at the same time, being a Traveller struggling to be who I am told I can’t be- my home is on what I am told is an illegal site. Given what family means, we are forced to break the law by living together.
I find the struggles between the Trans community and the Traveller community so similar. Especially immigrants and asylum seekers who are also told that looking for safe homes is wrong. So similar that I wish our people could be better friends to each other. We face a lot of the same issues, difficulty in getting jobs, more difficulties in getting safe homes, mental health, social acceptance, cruel words on the street and within our own homes, if we are lucky enough to have one, policies and slow change that are literally killing so many of us.
Today matters. Trans pride matters. And giving space to other voices matters. Breaking the binary for me means choice, sometimes choosing what the world tells us we can’t be, today I choose me. Someone told me last week that for the Travelling community as a whole, at least the conversation has started. I don’t think it has really started, yet although some people have tried to have it be started now. If it has started, it seems to have started without Trans Travellers and this is not a start.
I believe we need to remind people to keep reaching out to others, our communities, my one shared community. We need each other more than you may think and today is about us. Thank you.