Major! (2015) Movie Script

What do we want?
When do we want it?
What do we want?
When do we want it?
What do we want?
I think she's so many people's
only safety net.
There's been times where
I went hungry and she
brought over food for me,
you know, she would go
to the store and buy food.
And I could call Miss Major
and she always picked up
the phone when I called,
no matter what time it is.
We get to call her things
like sage, right?
Even though she's cussing
folks out and spitting tacks.
I know mama
she's a dirty little vixen.
She really is.
She plays innocent
but she's not.
Not by the least.
She's a phenomenal woman.
When she was in her 30s
and her in 20s
she was advocating
for transgender rights.
And to this day
she still does that.
Major's told me she really
doesn't care whether
you call her he, or she.
She's a mother, she's a father,
she's a grandmother,
a grandfather.
She's a little bit of everything
and she's really doesn't care.
Her methods and her legacy
is frightening
to the powers that be.
She is our leader!
She is showing us
how to do this work,
so thank you so much Miss Major.
I don't know why
I'm still here.
I guess I still have stuff
to complain about,
bitch about, and try to change
as much as humanly possible.
And wake people up
to who my community is.
We have to look out
for one another
because we're all we've got.
The rest of the world
really doesn't give a shit
whether we live or die.
And the thing is,
when the dust settles,
I want a whole bunch
of transgender girls
to stand up and say
I'm still fucking here.
I met Angela Davis years ago,
so I'm excited to talk
with her again on
an even more personal level
since this is for the TGIJP.
So I think it's going
to be really exciting.
This brunch, I'm so nervous.
But I can't afford
to be nervous
or they're drive me
really crazy.
These Mama.
So I have to... uh, no.
But that one is really pretty.
Those make too much noise.
These are my girls,
they work with me,
they're my daughters.
They're Janetta and Melenie.
So it's been good.
They got here a little bit
earlier than I was expecting,
so we've been running around,
puttering ever since then.
Hand me the pill thing
up on the top shelf.
Oh god these damn pills.
These are for my heart
and my kidney because
I'm a transplant person.
I got a new kidney in '08
from a dear friend of mine
from Los Angeles, Thom.
And so now
I'm on these forever.
But that's okay,
as long as we have you forever.
She had one of those
Batman Cadillacs with
the fly wings in the back,
and we all went out to eat
and she takes off on Howard
and 6th Street
like a bat out of hell.
And we're just flying down
the street, and I'm like
oh my God, so Shania said
"Hold on girl!
Mammy be driving!"
I think a lot of people have
a lot to say about
how Major drives.
My current take on it is
I try to close my eyes
as much as possible...
although she has slowed down
a little bit some.
But prayer is really
what I've found is
the most successful thing
in dealing with her driving.
Hey Beck!
Hi Mama's driving right now.
OK, are you on your way
there too?
OK we'll see you soon.
OK, love you sweetie.
No driving and talking
on your phone!
Hi everybody,
I'm Melenie Eleneke, I'm one
of the Program Coordinators
at TGI Justice.
And my name is Janetta Johnson,
I'm one of the Program
Coordinators at TGI Justice.
And I'm going to talk
a little bit about
what we do at TGI Justice.
We do political education,
we empower transgender people,
gender queer, gender variant,
intersex people to advocate
for their selves
within the criminal
justice system.
Our mail nights are
a couple times a month,
we get people to come over
and help us read the mail
and then answer it
and send them what they need.
Mail night was primarily set up
to just send information
and resources.
We've become a surrogate family
to a lot of people in prison.
You know, they constantly
when they write us
they're like "hi family,
how are things going,
give everybody
in the office a hug."
And no matter what we send them
they always respond back
and say thank you.
Even just one sentence,
hi how are you, means a lot
to the girls that are in there,
that doesn't get anything
from their family.
The work TGI does is
very important because
no body else does it.
The girls in prison,
the boys in prison,
they take a lot of shit.
You know, they take shit
from the corrupt guards,
they take shit from the inmates,
they take shit from every angle
and it's nice to have
somebody in your corner.
And ladies and gentlemen,
it is my esteemed and privileged
honor to introduce Angela Davis.
So, good afternoon everyone.
It is really wonderful
to be here at this gathering,
and when I was asked to
participate I said absolutely.
Because this is one
of the most important
organizations in the country
that addresses issues
of trans women in prison,
largely trans women of color,
but that of course
is the disproportionate
there's a disproportionate
number of trans women
of color behind bars.
But in the process,
shedding light on so many
aspects of the prison system
and the p
that we would otherwise
not be aware of.
We're at the office at TGIJP,
Transgender Gender Variant
and Intersex Justice Project.
Well what we do is that
we work on trying to get rid
of the abuses and the suffering
that transgender women
of color go through
in the prison system.
It started with Alex Lee,
he saw and noticed the abuses
that were going on when
he was going to law school,
and then he started TIP
and then from that it evolved
into this, as things
went on and changed.
I came along pretty early
and just worked with him a lot.
When he left I became
the executive director.
So the exciting thing
for us was,
we were the first Black
transgender ran organization
that was involved
with social justice.
Don't many trans women
once they're released
from prison actually come
into an agency that advocates
for prisoners.
So it's a challenge trying
to get people involved.
But Major is very persistent.
Very nagging.
And every time she see you:
We need to talk girl.
I know you just got out,
you're trying to get
your life together,
stuff's going on for you
and all that, but you need
to come back over here,
help read some of these letters,
talk to some people
who are still there.
So prisons are basically
a concentrated torture situation
for a lot of trans women.
I was ridiculed.
I was raped by the inmates
and the officers
who worked the penitentiary.
If other inmates see
the prison
then they feel like
its carte blanche that
they can disrespect us too.
People will pass you around,
people will buy you
and sell you, without
you even knowing it.
I myself, I've never been
to prison, but I've been
in jail a few times.
And once that doors slams,
it's open season,
you know you're a marked person.
They don't want to give you
your hormones if you're
a transgender woman.
They don't want to keep you
away from the people
who want to rape us
because we're easy prey.
So, numerically I think
there are more people
who fall under the umbrella
of gender variant or gender
non-conforming who are actually
sitting in prison
or jail because
their gender presentation,
their gender identity
makes it hard for them
to participate
in legal economy activities.
When you can't get a legal job,
you have to turn to street
economics in order to survive.
You still have to survive.
We have to be housed and fed
and clothed.
I think there's this
huge myth
and rapists, and people
to be scared of" and it's
our brothers, our sisters,
our aunties
and it's everyone in between.
If rehabilitation or ability
to succeed in this world
is really your goal,
then our people could be
much better taken care of
in differ
The number of people
incarcerated in the U.S.
has increased 500%
in the past 30 years.
And so people are being
literally criminalized,
made criminals
for how they're surviving.
And we have to look at what
kind of society sets people up
and says "Well, you don't
have what you need,
you didn't pull yourself up
by your bootstraps
so we're gonna
punish you for it.
And whatever you do,
you're kind of gonna do wrong."
A lot of the girls and the guys
are put in solitary confinement.
Transgender women end up
in the SHU solely based
on the fact that
they are transgender
and a lot of times the officers
just don't want to deal with us.
So if there's any problems
that come up,
the simple solution for them
is just to put us in the SHU
and call it
for our own protection.
I'm signing the petition
to show support for
the people in Pelican Bay
in the SHU with their hunger
strike for their five demands,
which are reasonable demands
considering the shit
that they have to go through.
And then be a part
of everybody's making sure
that they stop this shit
that they're doing
to these people and so,
that's what I'm about to do now.
One of our members who
has been in the SHU since
her incarceration in
the federal prison up in Oregon,
and the atrocities and stuff
that are happening up at
Pelican Bay are going on in most
of the prisons in the country.
Even when I was in the SHU
for that very short period
of time, I was being harassed
and sexually violated
by one person, and then
basically I had to not complain
about anything because
if I would have complained
about anything they would have
kept me in the SHU
for my safety.
The courts already gave you
a sentence, but it's almost
like each guard and each warden,
they have their own sentence
that they want to put on you,
to further marginalize you
and disenfranchise you
and take away your value
and your worth.
In the SHU you don't have
access to
you don't have access
to any rehabilitation,
any educational opportunities.
The meals are cold.
It's very cold in the SHU.
They're damp.
There's moisture
all over the walls.
You get one blanket
and one sheet and one pillowcase
and it's extremely cold,
you have t
So many people have
different mental health issues,
and it's like you got to
get used to all these screams
and yells and cries for help.
And it's just like,
you'll go crazy in there.
You'll go crazy in there.
I was at a prison where I was
the only transgender person,
and I can remember
a lot of times calling
Mammy because I was just
having such a difficult time
and sometimes I just needed
to hear her voice to give me
the strength to move forward
from one step to the other.
So I often called her
and she supported me 100%.
Since I've been out
she's been there for me 100%,
she immediately
got me involved in TGIJP.
Major walk
and it is what it is and do
what you
So she relates
and she understands
and she just accepts.
It's what every family
should be.
It's the definition
of unconditional love,
no matter what.
Coming from Africa
and being broken and so forth,
Miss Major, she gave me hope.
She showed me how to be a lady.
She showed me how to dress.
From people calling me
a football player now
they call me look
at that sexy bitch.
I'm a product of TGI Justice.
And now when I write
the children that are in jails
and prison and they read
my story and see I did
three years in immigration
prison and I did one year
in San Quentin.
And I made it through.
I've seen her sit up there
and buy money orders, and
put money on people's books,
go see them.
I'm like, you don't
even know these people!
Yes I do, they're trans,
and they're in jail.
That's enough.
And that spend a mile
in my shoes, fuck my shoes.
Wear my dress, my wig,
my hair, my perfume,
and then go out there.
And after you get beat up
a couple of times
and you come back here
to catch your breath,
you may not even be safe
in your own home because
the motherfucker you sleeping
with didn't get high yet
and he's gonna kick
your ass because
you don't have enough money.
We need to make
the girls feel safe.
Especially TGIJP, because
we understand what it's like,
we have three girls
who are helping me to run this
who just got out of prison.
And we're trying
to help other girls,
to get them in that position.
Because it is so empowering
to stand on your own two feet
with nobody holding you,
and there you are.
You know what I mean,
godammit that's
the most wonderful thing
you can think of.
I was born in Chicago Illinois
in 194mmmm.
My mother's name was
Edgar Mae Griffin-Gracy.
My father's name was
Leroy Rudolph Gracy.
They called my father Honey,
that was his name.
And my mother,
most people called her Lulu.
On my birth certificate,
it's Major Gracy.
And I took on Griffin
because that was
my mother's maiden name.
And I wanted her to be
a part of who I was.
So I'd heard that
in Latin countries
you had both names, so I thought
oh okay, that will work for me!
And then I liked the way
it sounded,
Major Griffin-Gracy,
that's so cool.
So that's how I wound up
back at being Miss Major.
I don't remember what year
it was, but I'm 73.
I've had six
different birthdays,
all of them in October,
all around the 25th,
the only thing that changed
is the year, from 40 to 49,
so somewhere in there
is an age I'm actually at.
And who cares, you know?
So what the hell.
My sister and I were really
close, she passed away.
And I was very close to my mom
even though she couldn't
understand my
transitioning stuff.
I remember going back
after I'd been on hormones
and had breasts growing,
and flashed her
and she fainted!
I was so surprised I stood there
looking at her going
"Oh my gosh!
She fainted!
What am I supposed to do?"
So of course my dad came
and threw me out,
which was highly
The theory was
that it's a phase.
I'm going to grow out of it,
as I turned 40
and then 50.
It's a phase.
He's gonna grow out of it.
I woulda wondered --
I would get tired
of telling myself that,
you know what I mean.
But they held onto that
until mother passed away.
She still was sure that
next year was gonna be the year
I became the man
I was supposed to be.
And it was so hard explaining
to her, I am the man
I'm supposed to be.
I'm lovely.
My sister couldn't handle it
at all, Cookie was
five years younger than me.
And it was just
so much trauma for her.
And when I would send
pictures back I'd send them
to my sister to see
how I was doing in New York
and what I looked like
and what was going on.
And it was just
so heartbreaking
when she burned
all those pictures.
And my mother never got over it.
She had like three boxes
full of pictures.
And every holiday, well
we're gonna put them in a book.
No one ever bought a book,
and they never left the box.
So Cookie told mother
one year that she was
going to do it for her.
Mother got all excited
and Cookie came back
and put a bunch of ashes
in front of my mother
on her table.
Mother goes
Well, what is this?"
"Oh, those are your pictures."
And she turned around
and walked out.
So, that was between them.
I had my own issues
with my folks.
It be what it be.
Cookie killed herself
when she was 26.
In Peoria, Illinois.
It was pretty devastating,
there was nothing I could do
to help her or save her.
And I would have liked to.
My dad made a mistake
of telling me one day that,
"Well, she took
the easy way out."
That's not easy.
I'm sorry.
You can say that
all you fucking want to.
That is not an easy thing to do.
Because I think there's
an innate thing in us
to want to live,
see the next day.
Oh my transition,
it was years in the making.
It's not something that
just happens overnight.
You think about these things,
you have these feelings
that you just can't shake,
you just
I happened to be of course
at home, my mother
and dad were out.
And I went through my mother's
closet and put on one
of the little dresses
that would fit,
and was flitting
around the house.
And then I ventured
into the backyard, and then
I went to the garage door,
stood by the door panting,
that I'd come to the garage
and someone might have seen me,
and then I ran back
into the house and stuff.
And it wasn't until I met
this older queen in Chicago,
her name was Kitty,
and she dressed me up
and showed me how to
put on make up and stuff.
And it was kind of like
the movie with Natalie Wood,
the Gypsy movie where
she gets
and she's so surprised
how pretty she was.
I'm a pretty girl Mama.
That's exactly
what happened to me, you know.
When Kitty was through with me
and I looked at myself
in the mirror, I was
It was like "there's Major!
Where the hell have you been?"
Being transgender women,
and being transgender women
of color, and coming out
in the late '60s and early '70s,
there was a landscape
already out there, the landscape
itself was not healthy at all,
there was the street, there was
the clubs, there was the stage,
and there were pageants.
And then coming from home,
whether we were put out,
whether we left, whether
we were treated violently,
or however, this is
what we brought
to our new environment.
And many, many trans women
of color
I ended up leaving home at 18,
I was given $200, a car,
and told to never come back
unless I come home
and be a man in public
and be a girl inside the house.
Well, I can't do that,
I have to be me 24/7.
So I've been disowned,
cut off, and I've been alone,
I've done a lot of things,
nefarious things,
that I am not proud of.
But nor would I have changed
if I could go back in time
and change.
I would not change it
because it helped me grow
and become who I am today.
If my family loved me,
I wouldn't have
probably been a prostitute.
I wouldn't have probably been
a booster going
in stores stealing to survive.
I probably wouldn't mess
with this dope dealer
or this pimp, or something,
because they were the only one
that wasn't ashamed
to show me love in public.
So, I got to live me
though for now.
And this is who I am,
and this is who I'm going to be.
You don't get
a chance to choose.
That's true, it chooses you.
I tried to tell my mother that,
who was a therapist.
And also a gangsta.
Don't pick on us therapists!
And also a gangsta.
And she used to wake me up
in the middle of the night
with a gun to my head
and say y
Oh that was my father,
did they know each other?
And she would say you know
I could kill you right now,
you know they kill Black boys,
you know I could say
you were breaking in.
And I'd be like!
I was thrown out to the wolves.
And a lot of children
committed s
My father wanted me
to be his son, oh poor thing.
And he was a career Navy man.
And he loved putting
a gun to my head.
And at first it was
I'll kill you and kill myself.
And then when I turned around
14, 15, he went into this
"I'll kill you
and do the time."
And I thought now wait a minute
something's changed right there.
You get to live,
something's happened.
When Major came around,
they called her Mama Major.
She was a, just
a warm welcoming Mama.
I seen a couple of the girls
and a few other people
either call her Granny or Mom.
So I asked her, I said
do you mind if I call you Mom?
And she said no I don't sweetie,
so I started calling her mom.
One of the reasons that
I call Mis
when you're around
Miss Major, she will stop
the whole world to look at you
and to really see you.
And she is able to see
the pain that you carry
and the joy that you carry,
and there can be like
5,000 phones ringing
and a foundation officer
that's like waiting,
and she's gonna be like
ok you need to wait, because
I'm taking care of this person.
You just want to fold
in her arms and sit there
for 30 years because
you feel safe there
and you feel seen there
and beautiful.
And I think, our people
don't get to feel that a lot.
And I would be so tired,
and I d tell Mama put
my bags in the trunk of your car
because I got no place to stay,
and Miss Major would take me
to the New Pacific
and rent a hotel there
and say sleep miss thing.
From there I knew
that someone cared.
And whoever this woman was
I knew that was my mother
and I asked her to please
be my mother.
And Mama, anyone who is
really close to her
and who loves her and she loves
and chooses, she's very
dysfunctional with us.
All of us.
And so if she's not,
if she doesn't give you grief
or jabs at you or whatever,
you don't mean as much to her
as someone that she does jab
and play around with,
and you know, Mama how she is.
"I'm gonna do no matter what,"
you know.
So, it's very special for me.
I said I need someone
to walk on this journey with me.
And she said, I don't want
no more children,
I've got enough gay children.
I said well I don't need
no mama, I do need a grandmama,
because I already had
a gay mother.
And so she said, Ok,
just don't treat me
like no grandmama,
I'm not old and shit.
But I'll be your granny.
And so a relationship
ensued from there.
I don't call Miss Major mama
but I do call her
the Anna Wintour of TGIJP,
because she's our
editor in chief.
And in the way that the editor
of Vogue is so clear
on her purpose, Miss Major is
really clear on her purpose,
which is to love all of us
and to fight for all of us.
And she's really powerful
and clear in that purpose.
She's been very instrumental
in keeping me focused on
school, obtaining the necessary
certifications and knowledge
and training to do
this work that I'm doing.
And she never wants to hear
the words "I can't."
Because you can.
Like when I first got
kicked out of college,
I was just stunned.
I thought, wait a minute --
don't they need a minority?
I graduated early,
I graduated at 16.
I wanted to get out
of Chicag
'cause I had an aunt
who lived there.
They had the white boys
of doom in Minnesota.
Corn-fed, thick, tall.
Oh I thought going there
I would just be
the queen of the ball, child.
A Black girl with
all these white boys around?
It'll be wonderful.
So I was there, I was unpacking
my stuff and I only took
a couple of dresses --
one little pair of shoes,
two wigs for evening
when I would zip out.
My roommate found that stuff
when I was in one of my classes
and when I came back my stuff
was sitting on my bed.
So I said "What,
you wear dresses?"
He said, "No, I was looking
for something and I found those,
and whose are those?"
"Well, they're mine, stupid,
they're in my closet,
they're mine."
So he told everybody on
our floor that I wore dresses.
The cute boys
didn't pay it any attention.
They said, "Well,
if you do that, do you cook?"
"Yeah, I can cook."
"Oh, well you know there s
a kitchen at the far end."
So I fixed breakfasts
and lunches and you know
"I have some soup
and sandwiches in my room."
The dorm patron or whatever
the hell he was,
he came in my room telling me,
"Well, you know this shit's
gotta go --
we're not having this here."
And you can't tell me
what to do.
I'm grown.
I don't know
what you're issue is.
And so I went to class,
came back like a week later,
they had all my stuff packed up,
had it by the door --
and a little note on it.
"It was really nice having
you here and the experience
of meeting you was
really different.
And off I had to go.
It's so funny to think of
what I missed, if I could have
gone, what could I have done?
Could I have still held
onto my transgender self
and still done something?
You know.
So now when I see one
of the girls and they say,
"Oh, well I'm late.
I gotta go to class."
Inside I dance around
like Snoopy in summertime.
Yeah, godammit!
You going to school!
And I was trying to figure out
what I wanted to do with
my life, I had no experience,
I had no job experience,
and I wanted a career.
So Major said, well you know
what I want some implants,
I want a new pair of implants.
So I'm going to go
to City College
to the financial aid office
to get a loan and get surgery,
come go with me.
I was like oh my god
I'm not going anywhere, because
believe it or not I was so,
so afraid
because of the harassment I had
experienced all my entire life.
But I went,
because Major was with me.
Major was walking next to me.
And we walked throughout
the whole campus, financial aid,
the classrooms, the parking lot,
and then we left.
Long story short, Major
did not go to City College.
I went to City College.
And I realized some years later
that she had walked me
through that process
for my being comfortable.
And that was one of the first
times that she was really
so, so supportive of me.
New York was wonderful.
New York was the place
to be at that time.
Everything was changing,
people's attitude
about stuff was different.
Women were starting
to burn their bras.
One of the best things that
I really enjoyed
about the '60s, was hookin'.
Hookin' was fabulous
in New York then.
You know, the girls would be
walking down the middle
of the street flipping grapes
and catching them
and you know, licking on hotdogs
and stuff at the corner.
And the tricks were
just everywhere.
It was fabulous.
And you made good money,
which was
My generation went through
a time of we'll be out hooking,
you can only go out in
any amount of safety
between midnight and 3:30 AM,
that was it.
And then you had to learn,
after you
and wear the right dress
and find shoes that
you were comfortable in,
how to run in them,
change clothes, leap over cars,
pop up on the next corner
with a new wig, another dress
and a different pair of shoes,
and watch the police
run by chasing you.
That took work!
I'm sorry, that's a job!
I got involved with a couple
of drag shows back then,
the Jewelbox Revue
and the Powder Puff Review.
And they would go on
what's ca
and perform, and it would be
25 men and
And the only woman
in the whole little company
was this g
who was the male MC.
And I was a sh
I knew Mal really well.
And she was their first
Black major act.
And when Mal and I worked
together to try to
get together an act, they said
they didn't want two Black girls
as major acts in the show.
We couldn't go
to the theaters painted.
We had to go looking like men.
And we had to paint there,
so that meant getting
there three hours earlier
than the show.
And then we couldn't leave done.
The young queens like myself,
a couple of the dancers,
"Miss thing,
I can paint at home.
I don't need to be painting
there around all the musty old
white motherfucking queens."
God, Stonewall was
a wonderful place to be in.
Because all of the things
that you need to be around
or see was there.
There was older gentlemen
there who were tricks
and going to pay you money.
There was trade there,
you know boys that hooked over
on Broadway or on 5th Avenue
and would come there
to spend their little bit
of money and stuff.
There were other girls there,
there was an atmosphere
of enjoying who we were,
you know, in our space.
And one of the things
I remember about that day was,
I think they had just
buried Judy Garland that day.
And all I can remember
about that is,
she had a casket full of lilies
that just brought you to tears
when you saw it on TV.
Why it was on TV I have no idea.
Stonewall wasn't on TV
and that should have been.
And what happened was
that night, it was just
a matter of they used to do
that to us all the time.
Just come into the bar,
and the lights would go on
and everybody would
just stream out.
Nothing ever really had
to get said, because
you knew just what had
to happen, you knew that's
what the routine was.
And it was just a night that,
it simply
wasn't going to happen.
It's just, it's a feeling
that you get,
like when you go to a movie
and see something together
and everybody ahs
and gasps at the same time?
That's the feeling,
you just knew, everyone just
looked at one another
and sat down.
Not leaving,
not going anywhere.
You know the girls,
we can put up with some stuff,
you know,
but I guess it was just like
at that time, we were done.
Can't take any more,
this has got to stop here.
After that, you heard
well someone threw a shoe,
someone threw a beer bottle
or whatever have you.
I don't know who threw what,
and it doesn't matter.
All that mattered was
we were bustin' the cops' ass.
And when the community
at large got involved,
all of a sudden it was
white gay guys who had did this,
and lesbians, and oh there
might have been
a drag queen or two there.
When we frequented that bar,
you know what I mean,
and hung out there.
Across the street is
this little park.
The most disappointing thing
for me is in this park,
they have statues
to commemorate Stonewall.
Two lesbians, two gay guys.
And I'm sure the gay guys
are trying to molest
each other on the bench,
and the lesbians are talking
about moving in
and getting a new cat.
No transgender woman,
and there should be one,
and she should be flying in
and getting ready to land.
Where are we when we were
such a part of this?
Where's the respect
for the folks
that have gone through this?
Like Sylvia Rivera
and Marsha Johnson, you know
fuck me, it's just,
there were other people there
who had a voice before
this happened, who was
trying to make things better.
Girls of color.
Friends, you know.
And they just berated them
and talked about them like
they were drug addicts
and alcoholics.
And in going through this,
they pulle
I understand that it was
important that I was
in Stonewall because
I'm one of the last Black girls
who were there
that's still alive.
That to me is
a pretty amazing thing.
But the thing is for me,
it's not what I did,
it's what I do now.
It's who I help now.
How I train my energies to keep
the agency I work for going.
You know, because there's
girls in prison who need
to hear from us, who need
to know that somebody out here
gives a damn
whether they live or die.
I want things better for the,
for everybody.
Not just my community,
I want thi
And if they would accept
my community just
for who they are, it would
be better for everybody.
We're the last bastion
that you can talk about
and ridicule and throw things
at and beat up and it's okay.
You know some of my girls
have been attacked
by four and five boys,
and my girls went to jail,
the boys went home.
You know, how dare they
make that assumption?
We may not have started
anything, you know?
And if we happen to win
that battle when they fight us,
oh then we get a charge.
Assault to commit murder.
He started this shit!
But they don't think about it.
The legal system is off,
the justice system is off,
the police are off.
I mean, California has
some really great laws, yay.
They have some laws
that really want to protect
my trans community, yay.
Do the police read those laws?
If they do something against
a transgender person,
are there any repercussions
for what they've done?
But for me, if you tap that
wallet that they have,
they'll stop fucking
with my community.
If they gotta pay 'cause
they did
they're not going
to do it anymore.
They're not going to do it
in prison, they're not going
to do it when they arrest us,
they're not going
to do it in jail.
They're going to leave us
alone because they know
that we have some power.
Right now we don't
have any power.
We don't have any power.
I've had some negative
experiences with the police
department in San Francisco
where I had to sue them.
I was not on paperwork
I had given up my number,
and I had changed my life around
and I was in love with this guy
and he pulled a robbery
in my building, and some guy
seen him from behind
and the police came to my house,
and when they went
to put handcuffs on him,
I told them
it wasn't him, it was me.
I ended up going back,
and that's how I got
my second number.
But during that course,
while I was fighting the case,
the deputies that worked
there repeatedly raped me
for several months until
I got tired and I decided
to tell someone about it.
They had to move me because
they were afraid of retaliation
from inside of
the police department because
this officer was well known
and well liked.
I took numerous
lie detector tests
and passed and everything.
And we ended up
settling out of court.
And that's how I ended up
implementing transgender
sensitivity training
inside of the jailhouses,
that was part of my settlement
and that was the most important
part of my settlement
with the Sheriff's Department.
One of the things I love about
my community is we're
a pretty tough fucking
bunch of cookies,
you know what I mean.
We take the abuse that
we get in the street
from people and what goes on
in our personal lives,
from people that we think
are going to love us anyway,
like family, you know,
and we still survive.
So, in my heart I hope that,
I'm sorry.
That when the dust settles,
my girls will be okay.
I was in New York
for Stonewall.
I was in Danemmora
and Sing Sing, and after
the Attica Riots,
I got sent to Attica.
Spent all my time in there
in a cell getting to meet
the guys who pulled
this thing off, and listened
and watched all the abuses
they were putting
those people through.
They don't need an excuse,
they just run through us.
They run through our families,
they run through our society,
they run through who we are.
I got arrested for
robbing a john in New York,
and then was sent upstate.
I wound up going
to Sing Sing first.
I got out on parole, I went
and stayed with some friends,
and I shaved, of course.
Got a little light foundation,
and colored my hair,
arched my eyebrows,
and lightly dusted,
I don't t
but I lightly dusted,
and I went into parole
and they said that I was trying
to change my appearance
in order to abscond from parole.
And violated me
right there on the spot.
Then they sent me to Dannemora,
which has a mental hospital
on one side of the wall,
prison on the other.
Well they sent me to
the mental hospital first.
I had platinum blonde hair,
about two inches long.
My breasts had been developing
because I'd been on hormones
for years, and I thought
I was the hottest young thing
since white sliced bread.
Got in there, and they,
ooh, did their best
to break my spirit.
They shaved me completely bald.
They shaved off my eyebrows,
they made me walk through
the prison naked, you know.
It was so uh, it was so hard.
On September 12, 1971,
there was an uprising
by prison inmates of
the Attic
which was a maximum-security
prison located
in western New York.
It ended with the bloodiest
prison confrontation
in American history.
For five days, thirteen hundred
prisoners rebelled,
took over the prison,
and held forty guards hostage.
They made a list of demands,
the prisoners,
including improvements in
living co
and training opportunities
and centered into negotiations
with state officials.
The negotiations failed
and state police
and National Guard troops
seized the prison.
In the course of taking it
over they killed
forty-three individuals,
including ten of the hostages.
I met Black and the guys
who were from Attica
who had got the riots
started when they sent them
to Dannemora to the hole
where they had been housing me.
That's when I got to meet them
and talk with them,
and developed some
very lasting
and good relationships
with them.
They opened my eyes
to different things that were
going on
as to how I was helping
the system to survive
and not helping
my community survive.
I was just talking to Miss Major
a few minutes ago
and I noticed in the bio
that she became politicized
in Attica and I said
I didn't realize that.
And then we started talking
and she was pointing out
that Black, Big Black,
Frank Smith was
the one who really encouraged
her to think about
all of these issues
in a much broader way.
And so I said well, of course,
it makes so much sense.
We're all connected, aren't we?
Yes dear?
Hi Miss Major, in Attica,
your acceptance, Frank BB Smith,
was my stepfather.
Oh how wonderful!
So you're like the first
trans person outside
of him accepting me,
that I probably heard
a story about him.
Listen, I'm thinking about
driving up so you
and I can go see Black's...
I'd like for you to
take me to his grave.
I want to give him my respect
and let him know that I met you.
Oh, yeah.
He was such an important
part of my life.
By the time my mother
got with him, he was
already doing law work,
he had got out of
That was after Attica.
Yeah, that was after Attica.
I had been hearing about her
for years, but I had never
actually had the experience
of meeting her, one,
but ever hearing
this story about Attica.
All I knew was Frank
was monumental
in this whole riot thing.
But that's as far as it went.
Frank had never told me,
he just said,
"I had a friend
who was like you,
and believe it or not,
I was locked up."
And it wa
'cause I ran away --
he came and got me; actually,
he found me, don't ask me how.
But he found me, and he
sat me down and he explained,
"You're a girl."
And I went, "Huh?"
and he said, "Well,
you can't tell your mother this,
but that's what's
going on inside you.
And you want to live this,
that's why you're doing
certain things your mother
doesn't agree to.
Like wearing her clothes,
like wearing her heels."
None of it made sense to me,
he kind of put
that picture together,
and got me back into the house.
But somehow him telling
my mother how much stuff
he had went through in Attica
all related to Miss Major.
And their friendship wasn't
something that was sexual,
it was a real friendship.
I don't know, maybe it was.
Yeah, no -- we just talked --
You see, I had to
jump back and look --
You never know up in Attica.
Yeah, we talked a lot,
because he's the one
who made me politically aware
of all the shit that was
going on, and what I can do
to get my girls together
to go through it.
So while he did what
he was doing with
the Five-Percenters
and the Muslims;
I was working with
the transgender girls in prison.
And we were together,
he was really
a wonderful, wonderful man.
How were they with
the transgender girls in prison?
Shady as fucking shit.
So, normal.
At first, when I met Major,
he basically was a loner.
He did not trust
many people at all.
He always thought
that somebody was after him,
or somebody had a hidden agenda.
But little by little,
he began to open up.
I was doing drag shows,
and it was with this group,
and one of the guys in the group
introduced me to Debbie,
and then Debbie and I slowly
became really close friends,
and then we started
hanging out and stuff.
Major always tried to build up
my self-esteem,
as a young, Black woman.
Major did a lot of shows.
He was with a group
called The Cherries.
And I use
putting on the makeup.
As a matter of fact,
I think that's where I learned
how to apply makeup myself.
It was what I would call
a really cool relationship
that developed
into so much more.
It developed into camaraderie,
and then it developed into love,
and several years later,
I would say a good
five years later, we decided
there should be something
of both of us in this world.
And we decided it was time
that we moved in together,
and we started a life together.
At the time I had never slept
with any women at all.
And we were just sitting
one day looking out the window
at the Hudson, and
the sailboats on it and stuff.
I was holding her,
and something came up
and she started crying,
I told her not to cry,
I kissed her on the cheek,
and bingo.
You know.
So it wasn't
as horrible as I had
heard it was going to be,
so I was like, oh,
this isn't as bad as
they told me, child
I'm going again.
And the outcome was
we had a beautiful,
bouncing baby boy in 1978.
And we still co-parent.
Now, Chri
but whenever there is
something going on in his life,
Major and I, we talk about it.
This is what parents do.
No matter whether you are
transgendered or straight,
bisexual, no matter what.
You have responsibilities.
And Major has always met
his responsibilities
when it comes to being a father.
Major is an excellent father.
he's just the light of my life.
And he was born heavy.
You know how babies are
all wrinkly and skinny and ugly
and they go "oh they're
so cute," they look like
little rodents, you know
what I mean? Ew!
Christopher was a baybee,
and his face was all smooth
and lovely and kissable,
it was just so wonderful.
I mean who expected me
to have a child, you know?
That was just
the most amazing thing going.
And I lost a lot of
girlfriends in New York,
when I told them
that Debbie was pregnant.
They just thought as if
I had slapped them
in the face or something,
you know what I mean.
We moved out here to California,
He handled flying so cool.
I got the kind of carriage
for him w
And so people, if they
looked they would see
I had breasts and a baby.
And a beard.
And was in a man's suit.
Debbie moved out here,
we stayed together for a while,
and then it just didn't work,
you know, and so she went
back East to New York.
And she left Christopher
with me.
You know, and I felt
so honore
So we drove there together,
all three of us.
And I stayed until she got
an apartment and stuff there.
Then I came back out here
to California and then
when I got back out here
I thought okay, raising a baby
is going to be hard, you know,
I may know what to do
but maybe I should see
what other people are
doing to help me do this.
There was a group for fathers
who were raising their children.
So I went to go to this group.
Needless to say I did not
only not get in,
but two or three of them
came out t
It's like wait a minute,
so I have tits,
what is your issue?
Christopher was always
really confident, "that's
my daddy" even though
people would see a woman.
I feel like she's like
deeply genderqueer in this way
that someone will be like,
you're a woman,
and she ll be like
I'm a wonder woman,
wonder what kind of woman I am.
She's happy to be with
her full beard and a dress.
She just wants to be herself
and be seen as herself.
Daddy's ju
I mean he runs the house,
he talks a lot.
He rules with his voice
and not with his fist.
I got a lot of love
when I was a kid.
I was definitely the most
loved kid, like ever.
So the last time you were
in a room with your mom
and your dad
at the same time was...
About 23 years ago --
no, too many.
23 years ago. Yeah, a long time.
It s been a while.
It was not good.
We were in a diner somewhere
here in New York and I mean
I don't remember much
of the conversation.
At that time I was 12.
I know there were not nice words
happening and I mostly
tuned most of it out.
Most of my troubles
today have absolutely nothing
to do with my father.
So I'm blessed.
I'm here for daddy's
building dedication.
I think it's a huge honor
and it's nice to know
that he's gonna be
immortalized in a building.
It's like, he's a building.
That's my dad.
You know the building
around the corner?
We're gonna sit
at the welcome table,
we're gonna sit
at the welcome table
one of these days
We're gonna sit
at the welcome table
we're gonna sit
at the welcome table
one of these days
We're gonna thank
and honor our elders
We're gonna thank
and honor our elders
we're gonna thank
and honor our elders
one of these days
We at the Miss Major Jay Toole
Building for Social Justice
know exac
Jay is here for people
who have disabilities.
Who have HIV and AIDS.
Jay is her
people living
on the streets
or homeless shelters.
Jay is here for queer people
of color, trans and gender
non-conforming people navigating
the prison industrial complex.
I was homeless, you know,
and I was in my box
and this thought would
go through my mind:
I'm gonna die in a box.
No one's gonna know who I was.
No one's gonna know
I was on this earth.
And then one fucking queer
put their hand out to me,
and here I am.
Major, we have a fucking
building named after us.
Isn't that like amazing?
Me and Major talked
in San Francisco a week
and a half ago
and we tried to figure out
how long we've known each other,
and it seems like it's 1964
...that we met.
You know,
we go back a little ways.
I love this building.
Our doors stay open,
we help whoever walks through.
And to be in the same space
with Major.
I love my community.
You saved my life.
Now go out
and save somebody else's.
This is absolutely
a wonderful thing
that this is not a memorial.
I'm actually alive
to pay attention to this
and I just want to say
that I hope each and every one
of you when you leave here
and anyone says 'oh,
I'm here about the GLBT...'
no, no, no motherfucker.
T comes first.
I want you all to know
that I love and care about
all of my Black sisters
out there whether
I know them or not,
whether they know me or not,
I hope they hear about me,
I hope they come here
and get some services
because this is the building
to get the fucking services at.
I love you Jay for all
the years we've known each other
and this is only the beginning.
You all must continue
fighting for us because
I'm getting tired.
My heels cannot take it.
I'm in flats come
to think about it.
So hang in there.
Thank you so very, very much
from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you
When I first met Major
the kind of work she was
doing was
we were all at that stage
at that point.
And it's kind of there that
I noticed the struggles
that she had, she really,
the prejudice to try to find
work was just, very blatant,
and very obvious.
Major always seemed to
find people who, or actually
these people would find her,
who were kind of struggling
with their own self-identity.
And she always seemed to have
people like that as roommates.
She'd alw
of new folks and she would
teach them, build them up,
show them how to paint,
show them that they really
are valuable, and that
they're more than their past,
and then send them back out
in the world and we'd
see them all over.
Usually in San Diego performing,
you know one minute
they're practically
a street kid,
and then next moment,
after a month or two
with Major's tutelage,
they're now performing
with local drag troupes
and making a living.
Ok, well that was the end of
the second show, but we have,
an encore performance,
a third show.
Please child, we're gonna
close the bar!
Be with you in just a minute,
hope you enjoy the show.
I'm Major
All right girl.
She was elected as the head
of a food delivery program,
for people with AIDS.
They would have a contest
for a spokesperson.
And the people, the guys in
the community elected Major,
but the corporation itself
did not think she was
a fit aesthetic for
the organization, and she rode
in the gay pride parade
that year, and they put her
in the back of the float.
And that was so painful
to see her.
But she sat there on the back
of the float
with this enormous petticoat on.
And her son to the next of her.
Everybody just waved
and waved and waved to her,
you know, that was so empowering
to see, that no matter
what she was faced
with she came out on top.
She had a significant other
for many years, Joe Bob,
in San Diego.
And when he passed, she got
the Veteran's Hospital
to create
which was a big deal
at the time, for like
a Veteran's Hospital
to really recognize that some
of the veterans were dying
of AIDS at the time.
The idea for this garden
originated in March
of this year when we lost one
of our patients,
Joe Bob Michael.
And his friend Major
and I talked about,
it would be nice to have
some kind of living memorial
to remember the patients that
we knew and had loved and lost.
And to me that was like,
oh my god
she's a trans person,
and she's six foot five,
and she's walking in her truth.
How wonderful that is.
And it gave me strength
to wish more for myself.
Major has had three
major loves in her life.
She had Joe Bob back
in San Diego, and she was
his caregiver for many years
before he passed.
Shannon she was with for
I think at
Shannon actually lived
with Major and her parents in
the Menlo Park house while
she was ta
And unfortunately he struggled
with drugs and some other issues
and he committed suicide
at that house in Menlo Park.
He hung himself in
the garage, and unfortunately
Major came home and found him.
And then I met Beck,
and he just caressed my heart
and took all my pain away.
I don't know
if I would have made these
last 10 years without him,
you know?
I think Major is the only person
I have been so deeply
in love with.
And it was kind of
a slow build-up.
There was a big age gap,
and I thought oh lord Major!
I got to know Beck,
and there really was
a beautiful love there.
Major had really good game,
I think, like she really let me
initiate a lot, like I knew
she was really interested in me,
but she also never really
called me, and over time I would
just call her every night
and I ve
or seen her everyday
probably for almost 8 years.
I think s
of sensing
her own hotness in the world.
And so she used to come
to my apartment and she would
try to do this walk for me
that she felt was so sexy.
And she was on dialysis,
her balance was off
so she d literally be bumping
into walls as she did
this sexy walk coming to me.
And it was just so endearing.
Major really was the one
to break up with me.
I really want to have a family
and I think eventually
she was like you're not happy
and I think you should go out
and find someone who's younger
and live your life
and get to do the things
I've already gotten to do.
So I eventually moved out
and everyone told me
that we would need
more space from each other,
we would need some sort
of break, but we just
never got that. I don't think
we ever really needed it.
And we just love each other
so deeply and want to talk
to each other all the time,
and we just are huge emotional
and material support
for each other.
We're like two lesbians,
we share a dog, he has her
a week, I have her a week...
I hope that she'll live
a long time
and I think about having a home
where she will also be there
and having a partner
and a family that will
see her a
I just kind of feel like
we're a package deal
and I think it's a pretty
good package you know.
Nobody knew that we existed.
And they really didn't give
a damn how we were treated.
So we had to humanize
ourselves to people to let
service providers and
governmental entities know
that we're not just
these glamour dolls
or these mentally
confused people
or these white academicians
who coincidentally contracted
HIV or just happened
to become homeless.
That we were suffering.
And just as they demonstrated
a sense of urgency about
white gay men, they needed
to get up and demonstrate
that same sense of urgency
about transgender people.
Whether you understood
who we we
We'll get to that in the 2000 s.
You don't need to understand us.
You need to respond.
And, my work with Major
was about saying to people,
now here's how
you're going to do it.
You're going to put us on
your community planning groups
and you're going
to listen to us!
You are going to share power
next to these freaks of nature
that you're
not comfortable with.
You're just going to have
to be unc
Major was in charge of
the transgender drop-in center
and she was a health educator.
And of course, Major was
known and loved by everyone.
And if there was any problem,
particularly with
any of the women in
the trans community,
she was their go-to person,
it was Mama,
Miss Major, you know.
I met Major in the Tenderloin
doing street outreach
for HIV positive,
mostly homeless folks.
We often noticed that
a lot of the people
who could benefit
from services were not coming.
They were in the street
and they were not necessarily
comfortable coming
into an agency.
So we decided we should,
we should go out.
About three times a week
we would park a van someplace
and set up chairs
on the sidewalk
and hand out condoms
and bleach and syringes,
and offer HIV testing.
So we kind of made it up
as we went, there was
very little direction,
it was mostly from the funders
and the City, they were
it was mostly don't do that.
This doesn't fit in the program
or the contract
or the funding stream.
And what I really love
about Major is that that just
doesn't matter at all.
You just do something that
needs to b
people either get it
or they don't
and funding comes
or it doesn't.
These street clinics,
they didn't really start
until Major arrived.
And she would always be late.
And people would sometimes
stop and talk to us.
But it didn't start
happening until
some really big vehicle came.
She would pull in and open
her window and start cursing
that there wasn't any parking
and that we weren't in
the right place and you know,
she'd let us have it
from the very beginning.
And that's when clinic
would start, that's when
the girls would come
and then we'd be on our way.
It's an indictment
when you're with Major,
if you really know Major
and what she's done.
It makes you ask yourself
now what am I doing?
What am I doing again?
Do I just want to be pretty?
Do I just want to conform?
What would I do if I really
used my life as
an instrument of social change?
She deserves to be recognized
for what she does
in our community.
And it's just not
here in San Francisco
that she advocates.
She's up, at her age
that woman moves around
like a 22 year old girl.
When she really should be
sitting down.
I've seen her sick and tired,
legs hurting, legs swollen.
Her eyes hurting where
she can barely see.
But she gets up
and she's there.
She's spe
and I'm
girl why are you there?
Aren't you sick?
Yes I am
This is our lives,
we live this each and every day,
and imagine having
to leave your house and worry
every day if you're going
to get back home because
of someone else's bullshit.
We have to stop it,
we can stop it,
you must stop it.
Because I would love
for the dust to settle,
and all the transgender girls
and guys in this world
stand up and go
I'm still fucking here!
It was really challenging
these last couple of years
because she's had
insurmountable health issues
where it appeared
that the end may be
near for her.
We had known each other for
probably at least
18 years if not more.
I found out that she needed
a kidney, you know,
with all the issues
that she had.
And of course I offered.
Major s a very,
very dear friend of mine.
I lost my left eye to cancer,
and Miss Major lost her
right eye, so we used
to joke about walking up
and down the street,
so she would be my left eye
and I would be her right eye.
But you know,
we have to keep on going,
we have to keep on going.
And Major instilled
that in me, never give up,
no matter what,
never give up.
Whoo, I wanna see
80, 90, and 100.
Now once I get there,
I'm good to go.
Willard Scott's gonna go,
and Miss Major is 100 today!
Yes! I can go now.
One trans woman
on Willard Scott's mouth.
You know what I mean?
I still feel 35.
And I can't do the things
I used to do at 35,
but I can still chase the boys
I like to have
and still do the things
I need to do, and still have
good, enjoyable,
long-lasting, wonderful sex.
Just cause there's snow
on the roof honey don't mean
that the fireplace is out.
Adjusting to being older
and going through all the shit
that you have to go through
just to survive,
have medical coverage, eat,
live somewhere decent,
get around
and about comfortably,
negotiate through society
and be okay.
They don't tell you
that it's gonna be
hard as fucking hell.
For someone who's taught us
so much and has survived
this long and who's not
done it for personal glory
or money.
And like, a bitch
is broke you know.
She hasn't built up a nice 401K.
How do we think about
our mandates to take care
of our elders who have
taken such good care of us.
And if Miss Major has
a building named after her,
she damned well better have
a place to live.
How do we make sure
that the rest of her life
is as comfortable
as she's made us powerful.
I want her to be taken care of,
and to you know, to not have
to worry about things.
And to have people to lean on.
I think in our communities
that's one of the saddest things
is the isolation
and the loneliness of aging.
I feel very fortunate to be
a 71 year-old proud
transgender woman, hoorah.
And it would be really nice
if I had some girlfriends
my age for us to sit
and talk about the bullshit
that they tried to pull
on us back in 69, 65, 62.
For me, when somebody dies,
I always feel that
if it's someone that shouldn't
have died at the time
that a part of me
died with them.
Just because no matter
what you believe,
we're all a part of each other.
How many of you know
you're a vessel full of power?
Can we get this
turned down some?
Is it possible?
Cause I'm loud anyway.
You can hear me?
I am troubled
but not distressed
but not in despair
I'm a vessel full of power
I've got a treasure
none can compare
but not forsaken
Cast down,
but not destroyed
I'm a vessel
full of power
I've got a treasure,
from the Lord
The loss of any girl is
just really, really rough.
And then to realize
that it doesn't have to be
murdered or beaten up
because someone disapproves
of who they are,
but through neglect and uncaring
and doctors who don't
really take care of us.
It's kind of like a societal
killing spree, indirectly.
That they just feel as if
well whatever they do to us,
we deserve,
we've asked for this.
It builds and adds up.
If you let it, it will
carry you away,
so you have to just figure out
what your sense of grieving is,
and then work with it,
and keep them in your heart,
cherish the memories
that you do have.
And if it's sad and you need
to cry then go through
whatever it is, and then
get up that next day,
get your shit together
and go out there
and just be who you are
because that will make somebody
pay for what they've done
to the girls
who aren't here
to do that anymore.
You have to go forward for them,
is what I try to do.
Keep going forward, because
we ve got to make a difference.
Let your light shine bright
Don't ever give up the fight
you chose to be,
so why not be free?
Yeah, I'm not from
San Francisco, and coming
into this space
as Celebrity Grand Marshal.
Sure, yeah, yeah.
How would you advise me
for the five minutes
that I do have to speak?
What would you advise me
to say as someone
who is from here,
what do you think that
these people need to hear?
They need to know that
we have substance,
we have meaning,
that this is only
a step forward.
This isn't the change
that we deserve yet.
In this congratulatory thing
that you're giving me,
realize that it is not
where it needs to be,
where we're going to push it
to be and the community's
going to help us all get there.
No girl is gonna be left behind,
and we're not throwin'
any bitches under the bus.
And you all are so powerful
and articulate
and marvelous and wonderful.
And true spirits and souls,
you know.
Just knowing that you exist
is such a blessing
for me, personally.
So... I love you all so much.
Thanks, baby.
Thank you so much.
Ladies and gentlemen
Celebrity Grand Marshal,
Janet Mock!
Make a round of applause
for her.
Forty-five years ago today,
our forbearers, gays
and lesbians, low-income queers,
homeless youth, fly drag queens,
and fierce trans women
fought to live
their lives openly, safely,
and without restrictions.
Legend says that in 1969
Marsha P. Johnson threw
a Molotov cocktail into
the crowd kicking off
the Stonewall Uprising.
Others say it was actually
Sylvia Rivera throwing
a brick at the police
that served as a catalyst
for our liberation.
Regardless, it was
unapologetic trans people
who helped ignite our movement
forty-five years ago
and I am proud
to be a product
of their resilience,
their fearlessness
and their brilliance.
Yesterday I was lucky enough
to share an afternoon
with Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.
I sat at her side
and realized that
she was and has always
been the answer.
It was Miss Major who told me
to never forget
that I am trans just as much
as I am Black,
just as much as I am a woman.
It was Miss Major who taught me
to center my sisters in my work.
She has always centered us,
those of us most forgotten
by LGBT movement leaders.
For decades Miss Major,
with little resources,
no pay or accolades has
taken care
our sisters working
on the streets, our sisters
searching for mothers.
She is the blueprint
for our liberation
and has ensured that
the path that I walk on,
that we all walk on is
less rocky because she exists.
We must never forget that
Stonewall was not a parade;
it was a police riot.
We must never forget
that whole communities
of low-income trans
and queer folk were fighting
for their lives that night.
Our siblings are still
fighting HIV/AIDS,
our sisters are still
banished to the darkness
of street corners, our people
are still being locked away
and hunted down.
We must remember.
We must remember.
We must remember.
The memories of this day,
of all of you standing here
will serve as an enduring
reminder of our legacy
of resilience, of where
we are now and how far
we must move
and journey together.
OK, first and foremost,
Ma Major, you know
there's nothing but love.
I'm here as a Black trans woman.
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still here.
I'm still here
Through it all,
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still here!
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here.
The dust hasn't settled...
but I'm still here.
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here.
Trans Latinas!
Aqui estamos!
I am still here.
I'm still freaking here.
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here.
And I'm not going
any fucking where.
We're still fucking here!
I'm still fucking here.
Right here.
Seguimos de la lucha.
I am still here.
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here girls.
I am still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here.
I'm still fucking here,
we here together!
Thank you!
That's a lot of trouble.
Hello, you don't know me
But you hate me a lot
Cuz I lost my fear
I forgot
Cuz you still have that fear
In your heart
Still I love you
No matter how we fought
Maybe I'm stupid
Maybe I'm dumb
But I know that
I'm not the only one
Someday we'll see
The error of our ways
And we'll smile yeah
We'll laugh it all away
Til that day
You can say what you want
Still I love you
Yes I love you
Still I love you
Yes I love you
Still I love you
Welcome to this place
That I found in a dream
Where our hearts
Are bursting at the seams
Where the light
That we shine never dies
And our souls
Have learned how to fly
No such thing
As a fear of the dark
And our hearts
Are outside of the box
And our love
Yes, our love
Lights the way
And I know that
We'll be there someday
Maybe I'm stupid
Maybe I'm dumb
But I know that
I'm not the only one
Someday we'll see
The error of our ways
And we'll smile yeah
We'll laugh it all away
Til that day
You can say what you want
Still I love you
Yes I love you
Still I love you
Yes I love you
Still I love you
Light the way
Light the way
Light the way
Light the way
Light the way
Light the way
Light the way
Light the way