Sunday marked the international day of Trans Remembrance Day. The day memorializes those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. For many the day served as a stark reminder of the strides still needed in the fight for equality.
Spencer Jackson is a trans-man who lives in Waco. Jackson's mother Chelsea Jackson-Garcia, believed initially that Spencer was going through a phase.
"When he came out at 15, I said let's just wait and see where this takes you," Jackson-Garcia said.
It was not a phase, years later Jackson would still have those same feelings, and made the decision to come out as transgender. Jackson credits his mother for her support through the transition.
"She was pretty much the reason you know I really said I could do this," Jackson said.
Jackson-Garcia acknowledged it was an adjustment accepting that her only daughter would become a son. She knew however, Spencer would be the same compassionate, craft-loving person who she unconditionally loved.
Jackson-Garcia also recognized some of the hardships trans people endure in society and knew she had to provide her unwavering support.
"I think some of the backlash caused me to be a bigger cheerleader for him. I think that negativity caused me to want to give a positive voice. Even if I was the only positive voice shouting in the background, I wanted him to hear my voice over all of the voices," Jackson-Garcia said.
Spencer said that for the most part his experiences have been positive.
He is happier now living as a male and wants other to be more tolerant.
"You just need to know that we are people too. We're not trying to take over and be like this is our world now they just need to realize we're going to coexist with them," Jackson said.
At Interwaco's Trans Remembrance Day ceremony in Heritage Square, they shared the names of those killed in hate crimes. Activist Alyssa Harley spoke encouraging the crowd to remember not just the lives but the work of the many trans people who have passed.
"I like to not just remember our dead we talk about the people who were murdered but it's also about the people like Sylvia who's lives are cut short by how treacherous society was for them," Harley said.
Harley has worked tirelessly on increasing penalties for violence against trans men and women and working to make the movement more inclusive. While Harley's activism has pushed social norms, she said it pales in comparison to the true revolutionary act of love.
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