Nancy was honored to be chosen Grand Marshall for Boston Pride 1998. Also honored as Grand Marshalls were transgender warrior Leslie Feinberg and trans/gay activist Abe Rybeck.
Nancy R. Nangeroni
It’s a real pleasure to be here with all of you today.
But why are we here?
Is this just another party?
I don’t think so.
I think this is the most dramatic statement of political will that Boston has seen in our lifetime.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a transgender activist.
Not only that, I’m part woman, part man.
Something out of science fiction.
I’m a little bit of both, and I like it that way.
I identify with a lot of you lesbians out there, since I live as a woman and love women.
I also identify with you gay guys, because I have a penis and I love men.
But I love both men and women, so I guess I really identify with you bisexuals.
I think I could pass as just about anything, but who the hell cares, anyway?
It’s been a great year for people like me, people who in some way or other transgress our gender norms.
We’re being included more and more, and that’s great.
But it’s just a start.
Transgender activism brings a fresh new sense of purpose and idealism to the gay liberation movement, to the feminist movement, and beyond.
I don’t know who decided that being queer was only about sexual orientation, but it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t a lot of you either.
Being queer is about being different, and this movement of liberation that brings us together today, unites us not in a single vision, but in a common purpose.
And if we define that purpose in narrow terms, like sexual orientation, or gender expression and identity, or race, or class, or any other single expression, we make our stand upon a narrow pinnacle from which we are too easily dislodged.
If we want to stand strong, unshakable in the face of all opposition, solid against all attempts to undermine us, vigorous in meeting any challenge, we would be smart to stand upon the broadest possible platform.
We cannot knowingly allow the persecution of any person for any reason.
Ours is not a lifeboat which is in danger of being swamped if we take on one more drowning soul.
Rather, ours is the relentless march of a civilization which becomes stronger with each additional body.
Our march will not be turned back by the forces of fear and ignorance.
Our direction is towards the day when all people everywhere will enjoy the inalienable right, without fear of repercussion, to choose who to love, and how to express and present themselves in the world.
This is not some new idea, some new freedom to be won.
It is a fundamental right upon which this great country was founded.
And so it is in the language of love, and in the language of gender, that we insist upon our freedom of speech.
In the struggle ahead, we will persevere in the work that we must do to win the protection of our fundamental rights.
We will do what must be done to secure unbiased health care, to honor our families as we choose them, and to enjoy equal opportunity in employment without regard to gender expression or affectional orientation.
I additionally call upon each and every one of us, to do what must be done to protect the well-being of children of difference born into hateful or abusive families.
So let us renew our commitment, and redouble our efforts to stay calm, stand tall, and refuse to take “no” for an answer.
If we never stop trying, if we never abandon our brothers, our sisters, and our trans kin, we will prevail.