Today is White Ribbon Day and this time last year our coworker, Tre’Andre Valentine spoke for the event. Check out this video clip of the beginning of his speech or read the entire transcript is below.
“When I was a child I wanted to be a boy and grow up to a man, the kind that drove trucks, was strong and had big muscles. See I was born female. And as a girl my bond was closest with my father. He was everything to me, I wanted to be just like him. As a father he was amazing, he made me feel special. But as a partner he was violently abusive toward my mother. He would sleep with a knife underneath his pillow. She almost lost her eye once. She tried leaving several times, but everytime my grandfather would send her back because “her place was with her husband”. She left eventually, but that’s not the point of my story. It is my mother’s experience that made me a feminist. When I thought about my own transitioning to live my life as a man, I wanted to show the world a different kind of man. I wanted to live my life honoring, respecting, and cherishing women. I wanted to be the kind of man that stands up for women’s rights not on behalf of women but beside them. I wanted to be the kind of man and partner my father showed me not to be.
I will share with you that I have experienced abuse first hand as a woman in relationship with another woman, and as a man also in a relationship with a woman. I too, am a survivor of partner abuse. It was not until The Network/La Red did I come to understand that abuse happens in all communities and mirrors and is supported by all forms of oppression like sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia. And that to end abuse it will take all of us as communities in solidarity with each other.
Being born female doesn’t make me any less of a man. And as a man, ending violence against women isn’t any less my fight. Ending partner abuse and violence in all communities is my dream. I understand that my liberation is tied to your liberation, so I am here with you all today pledging a commitment to ending violence against women, and I hope someday you all will be with me hopefully in this very room pledging a commitment to the end of partner abuse in the LGBQ/T and all other communities.”
Find out more about White Ribbon Day.