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Trans Rights Speech August 6 2017

Greetings my friends, members of the trans community and our allies. As an openly transgender American, I wish to speak to you about something very important. Tonight, Missourians have the opportunity. An opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of America and to the world that we will not tolerate hatred towards transgender Americans. We will not be called a mental illness. We will not be called an abomination. We will not be called confused. We are not some kind of sub-human. We will be called Americans, just like every other American. Trans rights are human rights. There will be no Missouri compromise.

Today, transgender Americans face the toughest battle for civil rights in modern history. People want to abuse us, stalk us, beat us, arrest us, rape us, and murder us as if we are somehow not entitled to the same human rights as everyone else. At times, the tunnel towards civil rights seems to have no light. At times, we question if there is a place for us at the table. My friends, I am here to ensure you that there is a place for us. Our place is in front. Through our uniqueness, love and compassion, we will lead this country. There will be no more hiding in the shadows. We are transgender and we are proud.
No one understands men and women better than us.

No one understands the gender bias in our society against women better than us. No one understands what it is like to overcome the hurdles that life throws at us. We are the toughest. We are the bravest. We are unique. We are different and we are beautiful. Let me assure you that these colors don’t run!

Somewhere in rural Missouri today, there is a child looking in a mirror and questioning their gender identity. This child could be lucky and have very supportive parents or they can find themselves being ridiculed, outcast and bullied. Unfortunately, many of you know this reality. We, the members of the broader LGBTQ community, must stand up for these children as well as ourselves and demand our civil rights.

My friends, there is no place in modern American society for denying a transgender American the right to serve in our military, to be employed, to be housed, to be a parent, or to have access to healthcare. Especially healthcare.
Some of our members and some of our cis allies, want to debate the numbers. How much it costs for surgeries and how much it impacts morale. We will not have this debate. We will not lower ourselves in this society and have others decide for us. Debating these topics gives control to the people who oppress us. We are tired of oppression and we are tired of waiting.

I confide in you today, my intention to seek the Democratic nomination for Congress of these United States in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District. I believe you know the incumbent all too well. Her name reverberates evil, hate, and spite towards transgender Americans and to the broader LGBTQ community. This incumbent introduced:

--The Defense Bill Amendment to prevent the payment for the surgeries of transgender service members.

--The ban against transgender Americans openly serving in our military.

--A bill to remove all civil rights protections from transgender Americans overriding existing state laws

That incumbent’s name is Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a republican who proclaims to be just like Donald Trump.
Make no mistake and let it be clear that my campaign will be an enormous challenge. I will be fighting hate and injustice behind enemy lines and in its own backyard. That fight will not be without risk to my personal safety, but I have accepted this risk like many of our transgender service men and women to fight for the greater good.

A victory against Rep. Vicky Hartzler shall be a victory for all transgender Americans. A victory will demonstrate a mandate to the rest of America that we deserve our civil rights. A victory will ensure that we are legitimized by the first transgender American to serve in the US Congress.

Friends, join me in my campaign to win our civil rights.

Thank you.

I am Jenna Marie Bourgeois, Democratic Candidate for Missouri’s 4th Congressional District.

The Committee to Elect Jenna Marie Bourgeois

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