‘I Will Survive’ – The Official #ProtectTransKids Video

Each time I see a yard sign, I feel a little thrill. When I saw multiples, it increases. That’s not just satisfaction, it is validation that all of these spaces are proclaiming that they stand with transgender kids.

And when I drive down a block or two and see many signs, it is a wonderful experience. I wish we could use a drone to take footage so we can all see the magnitude of what we’ve accomplished – over 1000 signs from a bird’s eye view. Thousands of stickers on mugs and bumpers. Pens everywhere.

The next best thing is a video of photos submitted from folks who have posted signs. Not 1000, but enough to get a good idea of that sensation of soaring over the signs.

I knew music would help amplify the message so I reached out to my friend Phat Man Dee and asked her opinion. She and her collaborators on the Social Justice Disco concept album offered us use of their cover of I Will Survive – voila!

Phat Man Dee and Liz Berlin have created an album that wails and rails against injustice, using their musical gifts to empower each other to speak truth to the injustices of our nation through dance music performed lovingly in the righteous spirit of equity, justice and disco! 

I did try to find some videographer to help, but that wasn’t working out so I just created this myself using software on my laptop. It is flawed, it might be hard to read, but just ssshhhhh those anxieties and let yourself be wrapped up in the hundreds of neighbors who want trans kids to survive and thrive.

If you’d like to add a photo to a future version of the video, please email folx@pghlgbtq.org

Dr. HollyHood’s original rap caught my attention around the links of the resiliency and resolution themes. This is not only a song about a survivor emerging from an abusive relationship, it is an anthem of resiliency. It is about all of our trans and queer kids growing up amidst structures that are hostile, but amongst peers who are not so much. The world is changing. But we have to keep this gap period safe.

And now I’m ready to move on
Get my groove back and get my groove on
Pay attention to myself. What others label greed.
Built Ford tough. And you ain’t ready for the speed
of my recovery, my discovery that I’m everything I need
My emotions, my devotions, next to you they supersede
Ran out of room to consume the excuses and the maybe’s
Cast away like Tom Hanks, but I’m surviving baby!

In a 2020 essay titled The Triumphant Queer Legacy of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ Latina writer Nicole Froio explains how this song is actually perfect for this project:

“I Will Survive” tells the story of a transformation of the self, a realization that your abuser — be it society in general or a specific person — has lied to you and that you are worthy of survival and love. This transformation is what survivors of gendered and sexual violence go through when they are processing and healing.

Thriving in this world can be difficult if you live in the margins. Sexuality, race, gender, and social class are categories that define our experiences, the pitfalls we are likely to fall into, and whether or not we survive. “I Will Survive” isn’t just an anthem for survival; it also expresses hope about what comes after survival.

We will continue to order new signs as long as we have requests (and donations.)

Request a sign AND stickers bit.ly/ProtectsTransKidsSigns

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