Two of our National TRUTH Council Members, Avery and Hanzo, share reflections on reproductive justice and their thoughts on the movement.
Avery [Atlanta, GA]
My name is Avery, and I use they/them or he/him pronouns. Atlanta has been my home for the past 10 years. It’s never been perfect, but lately things are seeming to take a turn for the worse. With the introduction of HB 481, the 6 week abortion ban (which was recently signed into law and will go into effect in January of 2020 barring legal action), I saw a side of politicians that they had historically kept hidden.
I’m a social work major, and as a part of one of my classes this spring semester I was supposed to follow a bill through the Georgia legislature. I chose HB 481 because I knew there would be conversation about it. What I didn’t expect was the brushoffs from right wing politicians.
I spoke to some of the more liberal politicians in my area. Spoke being the opperative word. They welcomed me into their offices, their inboxes, their phone lines – they were prepared and willing to have conversations on this difficult and often sensitive topic.
The conservative politicians were another story altogether. I attempted to engage in conversation with one supporter of the bill, and upon me mentioning that I am trans he walked away. Other has their secretaries turning people away at the door saying that they weren’t in when the lights were clearly on in their offices. I’m not here to name names. This issue is widespread and not on the head of any one specific legislator. But it also wasn’t one single legislator who perpetuated this.
I’ve always had a desire to fight for reproductive justice. I grew up in the church and although I was generally in more liberal ones, I still heard the messages of “abortion is bad/immoral/a sin/murder” over and over. As an adult who was assigned female at birth and has the capacity to become pregnant, the idea of not having access to that necessary healthcare is terrifying.
I started my fight because it directly affects me. But seeing people in the world around me who are dying from lack of access to proper reproductive healthcare has only made that desire to fight stronger. I’m not one to back down from a fight. I’m not one to watch someone’s rights be stripped away from them. I’m here. I’m staying. And I will be as loud as I have to for as long as I have to until every person has the freedom and access that they need to truly live and thrive.
Hanzo [Minneapolis, MN]
My name is Hanzo, I use he/him pronouns. I’ve lived in Minnesota all of my life but due to the turn of our political climate and seeing Minnesota’s somewhat progressive environment and bills slowly overturn to a more conservative state I’ve realized that bigotry isn’t just “in the South” like a lot of Northern people have claimed. We aren’t safe from bigotry and that’s becoming more apparent by each election. I began my fight when I had realized the injustices I faced weren’t normal, and certainly wasn’t something I had to just accept. It gave me the idea that perhaps I could use my words and actions to fight for others as well.
As someone who is designated female at birth and wishes to carry a child to term someday, this is a direct danger to people. This isn’t a debate, it’s arguing a human right. I strongly believe in the “right to pursue happiness” and how could anyone be happy when they have to live with their rights being stripped from them? Even as a religious person, I still believe that it is every person’s choice to their body. And how can anyone make that choice when all options aren’t present?
I also fight for indigenous rights, and being an indigenous trans man has put me in a place where racism and transphobia overlap far too often for me to choose one or the other. I fight by my writing. I’ve written testimonies for congress, stuck my foot in the door at the Capitol and refused to leave until I was given a seat at the table that discussed the rights of my people. Even when they were no indigenous people present to give their hearsay. I’m stubborn, I refuse to stop screaming for every person’s right to live a full life.