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“We are your economy”: Trans Youth Walkout and Speak Out

The following is a speech by a young trans person as part of an action called for by NYC Youth for Trans Rights.

Elle Purifoy

March 20, 2023
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On Thursday, March 9, dozens of trans youth walked out of their high schools in New York City to demand an end to anti-trans laws and to say that trans lives matter. They marched through the streets of New York City chanting “Trans lives matter,” “Queers don’t deny, Stonewall was a riot,” and more. The action ended with a speak-out by over a dozen youth who talked about the need to struggle for trans rights and to fight anti-trans rhetoric and legislation. The action was organized by NYC Youth for Trans Rights. Nurses from NYSNA attended, standing in solidarity with trans youth, as well as teachers from the MORE caucus in New York City.

Left Voice is publishing speeches by student activists about the fight for trans rights. If you are a trans youth who would like to publish a speech or an article, please contact us on Instagram or Facebook, or by emailing [email protected]

Hi, everyone. My name is Elle, and I’m from Arkansas. I moved here about two years ago as a trans woman, started transitioning in Arkansas — if you guys don’t know where that is, it’s right above Texas. It’s a shitty-ass place. There are laws already in place there, basically saying that if you go outside dressed like any of you, or like me, you could get arrested. We can go to jail for who we are today.

I was raised in a religious family — people that were supposed to give me love and acceptance and a safe place to be, and they didn’t. I woke up on my 18th birthday with my mother in my face saying, “If you wanna be a woman, get the fuck outta my house now. Go to school and never look back.” And I did. I’ve become a woman without them. In fact, I’ve always been a woman.

But who I am today proves that we are supposed to be here.

When I was 18, I tried overdosing because I truly didn’t believe that I was supposed to be here, but I woke the fuck up. Five days, I was in a goddamn coma, but I woke the fuck up! We are supposed to be here. We are supposed to be fucking queer! We are supposed to be trans.

I love each and every one of you, and I’m so happy that you all came out today, because this is my first fucking protest ever. I was too scared to be who I am. Even as a trans woman, I never told anyone. I always said that I was a woman because I’ve had experiences where saying that you are trans means having a shotgun pointed to your face. We shouldn’t be in that place anymore, it’s twenty twenty fucking three, and we have people in our government saying that we should be eradicated? Do they not realize that if we all just fucking died, the world would just stop? Do they not realize that we are a larger part of the economy and of the world than they think that we are?

We are your politicians!

We are your economy!

We are the people that run this world.

They don’t see that, so let’s fucking make them see it.

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