How will today’s transgender martyrs will be seen by history?

History is replete with groups and individuals facing colossal odds for simply presenting their truth, and for that, they were often forced to pay the ultimate price. 

Nearly every two days, a person is killed somewhere in the world for expressing gender nonconformity. People like:

Alejandra Leos, Aniya Parker, Ashley (Michelle) Sherman, Betty Skinner, Gizzy Fowler, Jennifer Laude, Kandy Hall, Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis

Abolitionists joined together to work for the immediate end to the institution of human slavery and the cessation of racial discrimination and segregation. They faced steep opposition from many quarters including a number of Christian denominations who asserted that sacred scripture not only condoned, but more importantly, mandated the practice of slavery.

Young people conducted sit-in demonstrations at southern lunch counters to end Jim Crow laws of segregated public facilities, to the abusive taunts of onlookers and crashing batons of local police. Demonstrators faced imprisonment and the imposition of permanent criminal records.

Feminists formed a new wave in the fight for women’s suffrage against a high tide of obstructionism within a patriarchal system of male domination and misogyny, and an attitude that the enfranchisement of women would destroy civilization itself.

Mayang Prasetyo, Mia Henderson, Tiffany Edwards,Michelle (Yasmin) Vash Payne, Ty Underwood, Sherman Edwards

The Church convicted physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei on the charge of heresy by insisting that the Earth revolves around the Sun, rather than, as per Church teaching, that the Earth was the immovable center of the universe with the Sun revolving around the Earth. Galileo spent the remainder of his life under house arrest.

Joan of Arc, the teenager who helped defeat the English in her native France, became one of the greatest war heroes in French history. In spite of this, she was tried by the Catholic Church on the charge of heresy in rejecting Church authority in preference for direct inspiration from God, and most importantly, for donning men’s clothing. She was burnt at the stake.

Jessie Hernandez, Lamia Beard, Rosa Riibut, Taja De Jesus, Michelle Vash Payne, Deshawnda Sanchez, Yaz’min Shancez

Alan Turing, one of the original creators of the computer, mathematician, logician, philosopher, and cryptanalyst, was largely responsible for cracking Nazi coded messages, which many believe shortened the war by two to four years, and he saved Great Britain. However, the British government chose to convict Turing on the charge of homosexuality, and ordered him to undergo “chemical castration” by taking estrogen injections as an alternative to spending two years in prison. Turing took his life a few weeks before his 42nd birthday.

Zoraida Reyes, Çağla Joker, Gypsie Gül, Jacqui Cowdrey, Gaivota dos Santos, Mahadevi, Marcela Duque, Mary Jo Añonuevo, Sevda Basar

Governments and powerful individuals have devised ways of silencing opposition for the purpose of maintaining and extending its control and domination. They commit genocide upon the true human liberators, the profits, the visionaries who advocate for a just and free world.

These visionaries, who were persecuted in their own time, have achieved not only exoneration, but more importantly, have become venerated as the visionaries they truly are.

Antonio Gramsci wrote about the concept of “cultural hegemony,” which describes the ways in which the dominant group successfully disseminates its social definitions of reality and its social visions in a manner accepted as “common sense,” as “normal,” and as “universal.” This hegemony maintains and expands the marginality of groups with differing identities or opposing views.

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