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Transgender people are agents of change

Transgender people are agents of change

Trans rights activist from Singapore, June Chua (Photo: Provided)

In my opinion, the Stonewall incident has become too politicized. In fact, it has become whitewashed. For me, it should be a celebration.

There should be monuments made to the two trans people of color, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who threw the first stones. There should be scholarships. There should be institutions named after them.

In fact, I feel like Stonewall has been taken over by cisgender people. Most of the literature, the things I read, are only by cisgender people.

Stonewall should be a celebration of people of diverse gender, people of color, of marginalized groups who rose up.

The day should be named after the two black ladies that threw the first stones.

June Chua attends an event in Singapore (Photo: Provided)
June Chua attends an event in Singapore (Photo: Provided)

What happened to the people of Stonewall?

If it hadn’t been whitewashed, I wonder what would have happened.

We might have talked more about the trans people at that time and since then.

What happened to the trans people at Stonewall? The homeless people? The marginalized groups that stood up?

What has been done for this group of people since Stonewall? Nothing has been done.

What is wrong is that we listen to the scholars, the writers, the reverends about these issues.

For example, recently I read about transgender healthcare. Some research was done by academics on HIV and Prep and transgender women.

The words they used were too academic. How will it be used our community?

Transgender people who are not academically-inclined but doing important work for their community do not have the know-how to use this research.

It will most likely be used by more researchers, more healthcare professionals who are cisgender. But, us who are transgender, cannot use it.

Trans community members with June Chua (in pink) in Singapore (Photo: Provided)
Trans community members with June Chua (in pink) in Singapore (Photo: Provided)

We now enjoy the shade

I visited the United States for three weeks visited last year in the summer. I was invited on a leadership program by the US State Department. And, importantly, I visited the Stonewall Inn.

In Chinese, we have a saying: ‘Our ancestors planted a tree, so we that we can enjoy the shade’.

At Stonewall, I paid respect to the pioneer generation of transgender people. I went to acknowledge them and learn from them.

They paved the way for us to enjoy the rights of transgender people today.

Stonewall should not be about politics. To me, it is a celebration of love. It is also a celebration of courage.

But, people have forgotten the real meaning. Fifty years after Stonewall, there should be more support given to trans people of color.

That’s why I have launched the T Project in Singapore. To reclaim our position in the LGBT family.

Transgender people are the agents of change.

Somehow, we are forgotten along the way. But we are always the ones ’to throw the first stone’ in history.

June Chua is a prominent transgender activist in Singapore. In 2014, she launched The T Project, a shelter for transwomen in Singapore. Last year, she launched the Alicia Community Center for Singapore’s transgender youth. It includes a museum of Singapore transgender history, a library of transgender and LGBTI resources, and peer to peer counseling services.

Stonewall 50 Voices

Gay Star News is commemorating 2019 as the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Riots. Our Stonewall 50 Voices series will bring you 50 guest writers from all around the world, with a focus on the diversity of our global LGBTI community. They will be discussing the past, present and future of our struggle for love and liberation.