31 Days 31 Trans Voices|Day 3: Jane Wilson, Lights! Camera! Activist!

Today for our 31 Days 31 Trans Voices we bring you the words of Jane Wilson as she takes us back to June 28, 2019 and the first Trans and GNC Pride March in St. Louis, Missouri. Jane also captured the emotion and spirit of the day and shares her video with us.

These are Jane’s words…

STL Trans & GNC Pride March 2019

History takes another step forward. On June 28, 2019, the Trans community in St. Louis, MO, and allies came together for their own march free of police and corporate sponsors. In this 50th year anniversary since the Stonewall riots, cities all across America, Canada, and other countries have asked the police to sit this one out.

Pride St. Louis and the city of St. Louis, Missouri came to an agreement this year to not have the police departments march in the parade in uniform and with their weapons. We were happy to have them march with us but without uniforms, badges and weapons. The Metro Trans Umbrella Group, MTUG, even offered to supply their contingent with polo shirts printed with their logo to identify them.

The Metro Trans Umbrella Group, MTUG, was named Grand Marshalls of the parade. The first time a group was named instead of a single individual. Everyone on the board of Pride St. Louis approved of the No uniformed Police decision and naming MTUG as Grand Marshalls.

Jane Wilson | Photo Janey Lynn Studio

Then at the 11th hour that decision was reversed. The reason given was a petition that was circulated on social media that accrued just under 14,000 signatures. Signatures of people of our city and region. There is a portion of police who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We assume it was they and their families, friends and supporters who signed this petition. We also assume they are 95% Cis white Gays and lesbians. Again, my opinion, but they are people who do not and cannot, ever have any understanding of the pain and struggles of the Trans and gender non-conforming community. Especially trans and queer people of color. The shakedown and subjugation of this embattled segment of the population is what led to the Riots of June 1969 in and around the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

So, the Metro Trans Umbrella Group started the Pride weekend with the first “STL Trans & GNC Pride March”. Other cities have also broken off from the corporate influence with their own version of a simpler, friendlier march of their own. New York City is one of them.

The struggle for equal rights continues.

The struggle for equal rights continues. During this current administration under President Trump, many of the progressive advances of the Obama era have been reversed. Marriage equality is currently under fire in many of the so-called red states. Transgender rights are being fought and reversed.

Although there are some areas of age-old conservative contention that are not being pushed back against. Marijuana. Even Wall Street is looking forward to the day that the federal government makes at least medical marijuana use legal and would even like to see recreational use legitimized nation-wide. Why, $$$. Yes, money. What else could possibly change the mind of the conservative establishment? You’ll see ads for “The Motley Fool” on every social media platform urging you to subscribe to their investing newsletter so ‘You Too can cash in on the coming Pot Boom.’

So, if the people in power cannot see a way to profit, they don’t want to give “it”, whatever “it” is, any attention. Then if “It” makes any noise or waves, squash it. Being transgender wasn’t an issue during the Obama administration. Now that the ultra-right conservatives are in power transgender people are vilified. “No more transgender people in the military” (President Trump) Why, because the money grubbers can’t profit from them.

Here’s the difference, when intelligent folks are in power, they see value in the productivity of the people. There is a potential in all people to be good productive citizens regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. They just want the freedom to “BE”.

Fascists can only retain power as long as they keep a group of the population aside as a target of hate. Rally their base against the hated group and keep control. Immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ, even women in general. “Grab ’em by the pussy” (quote from President Trump) (and yes, I see the current president as a fascist)

So now I will come full circle and wrap up where I started. Transgender and gender non-conforming people exist in numbers too large to ignore. We are vocal and will not be pushed around any longer. We only want the freedom to be ourselves. One of the current front runners in the democratic primaries, Pete Buttigieg, is gay. So what? It’s not even an issue. We are your neighbors and co-workers and nothing special. We pay taxes and send our children to the same schools as everyone else.

The struggle for equal rights continues.

Jane Wilson: Transgender since puberty, societal and family pressures forced Jane to live in her assigned gender, male, for 50 years.  She said it was a matter of becoming an actor and studying and practicing for the part. She excelled beyond most cis-men by earning a black belt in karate’, becoming an amateur body builder, and becoming a licensed cafe racer. All the while wishing and dreaming she was emulating her favorite role model, Amelia Earhart. Oh, and Jane is also a pilot.

Then came television. First Jane became an editor, then a photographer and videographer. While working in television news she fell in love with storytelling using her camera. After early retirement, her friend and author, Brian, talked her into shooting a documentary about their mutual love of general aviation at the grass roots level. While he played the producer role, she did the shooting, writing, and editing. “I’m glad I did.” she said, “It’s been a rewarding and educational experience.”

Now, primarily retired, Jane can sometimes be found shooting a story in and around St. Louis just for the love of it. Generally, it will be about something that uplifts the less fortunate and marginalized folks of our city; such as Metro Trans Umbrella Group events, and of course, Pride month in June.

Jane also creates photographic art prints. You can find Jane’s prints at Janey Lynn Studio.

Terry Willits

Trans Speak's Editor-in-Chief is an international mixed media artist, writer, LGBTQ advocate, coffee snob, dog dad, and FTM transgender - but not necessarily in that order, who practices what he posts. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he now does the writing thing from St. Louis, Missouri. You should check out his work - it's recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend stuff.

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