Joy KMT Speech at 2014 Pittsburgh Dyke Trans March

(Published with permission from Joy KMT a featured speaker at the Pittsburgh Dyke Trans March. This may not be reprinted in any form without the explicit permission of Joy KMT.)

Joy KMT addressing the march Photo: Sue Kerr
Joy KMT addressing the march Photo: Sue Kerr

Yesterday when I was coming back to Pittsburgh I cried. My girl asked me what was wrong, I said I didn’t want to be here. I was coming back from the Allied Media Conference, a space full of queer people of color. Beautiful queer black people. Later that evening I learned that KOKUMO, a trans-sister, was missing and queer people of color across the nation were looking for her.

I am a queer black mother of five. I live in Pittsburgh, this is First Nations Land. Sometimes it is affectionately heralded as the Mississippi of the North. Twenty minutes outside of the city the Confederate Flag abounds.  It is not ok that me and my fiancee are allowed to get married but Leon Ford Jr. cannot walk any longer. Meanwhile, a white kid was punched in the face by a cop at Pride and it has received national attention. How many of you know who Leon Ford Jr. is? Because this is your city. This is Our city.

As we march and protest, We must become deliberate in our understanding of solidarity and resistance. We must learn the histories of each other, tell the stories of each other, resist the normalization of violence, of human rights violations wherever they exist. I just came from Detroit where 300, 000 families are getting their water turned off. I live in Pittsburgh and fracking has forced families off of their farmland not to far from here, and they are talking about fracking in Braddock. In Palestine families are forced to buy small amounts of water from Israel and catch rainwater to survive. Water is a human right, and internationally human rights are being violated. Here in the US human rights are being violated. To be human is to be political.

But I don’t want to just talk about that. I want to talk about the ways in which being queer is generatively creative. There is a place inside of you that is sacred, which holds the understanding of exactly the way the world should be. And there are people around you right now, who also hold the knowledge of what the world should be, but in a different way. We don’t resist and work for change in order for shit to stay the same. We resist and work for change because we have come to make this world one where we can all live in. One where there is enough for everybody. Another world is possible.

I heard someone yesterday say that she doesn’t think that We are ready for the win. And I thought this morning that readiness is simply a decision. We must decide that our liberation is bound up with each others, and all of our actions and our decisions and our ways of being must be about that. Making space for our liberation, for the liberation of ourselves and each other.

The Pittsburgh Dyke Trans March is the making of space and it is beautiful. Look around and really take in who is here, the level of transformative genius that is here, the multitude of possibilities. I want us to really, really, bear witness. Because it is genius to survive this society, and it is this genius that will change the world. But I also want us to Look around and see who is not here, who is not visible. What conversations are not being had. What systems are white supremacy, of patriarchy, of trans-misogyny, of kyriarchy are still represented in this space. This is the work we must do. And the work I will do, because readiness is a decision and I am ready to win, to change, to create what we can all be sustained, and loved, and nourished in. Will you join me in the decision to be ready?  Are You Ready? Alright, then.

One of the difficult things about being involved in “backstage” details is that you miss things. I missed Joy’s speech and while that’s okay because I was doing necessary work for the March to succeed, I felt robbed. I find Joy to be a source of wisdom and inspiration. I’ve never heard her speak in person. So I was grateful when she graciously agreed to share her speech and allow me to publish her words.

You can follow Joy on Twitter @JoyKMT and read her original writing on her blog.

Joy KMT
Joy and other participants in the Pgh Dyke Trans March Photo: Sue Kerr
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