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Actor Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, and Senator Nina Turner Attends Campaign Rally of Bernie Sanders

My dear #Gayes, do I have a story for you! On February 15th, I had the immense pleasure of attending a rally in my hometown of Greenwood, South Carolina, hosted by Susan Sarandon, Nina Turner, and Danny Glover. They were there to talk to us about Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign.

I came into this rally knowing the most about Susan, a little about Danny, and nothing about Nina other than she worked with Sanders. What's bothered me the most throughout the debates and campaigning of all of the candidates is the sheer lack of discussion about trans issues. One of the things that frustrates me to no end as a non-binary person assigned female at birth is hearing reproductive issues that I and other trans people face getting labelled a "women's issue".

Senator Sanders is no exception to this. He's repeatedly labelled reproduction, equal pay, and gender based violence a women's issue. However, these are not solely women's issues. These are trans issues, too. Less gendered language when speaking about issues that impact multiple groups of people of different genders is going to be essential as we go forward.

Despite this, I've stood by him because in my opinion he has the best track record when it comes to trans issues, and I believe that were I given the opportunity to speak to him, he'd not only listen, he'd create policies and legislation that would give trans people the help they so desperately need.

Senator Turner solidified and confirmed my thought process on this in two ways. The first was her response to an audience question about LGBTQ+ issues: “All of the civil rights and civil liberties that everybody should be entitled to in this country, Senator Sanders is going to uphold those rights. We need elected leaders on all levels of government that will prioritize this and make sure that all people in this nation, no matter their sexual orientation or identity, have the freedom to express themselves as they see fit.”

The second was her personal response to me just after this photo was taken:

I leaned over and said quietly to her not to forget trans people when fighting for equal pay and reproductive rights. She assured me she wouldn't. I told her I was displeased with the lack of discussion regarding trans issues, and she was so compassionate and empathetic with my concerns. Senator Turner, thank you for listening. Even though our interaction was brief, it made a strong impact on me. I appreciate your passion, your dedication, and your strength. It was a pleasure hearing you speak and talking with you.

After everyone got a photo, I had the opportunity to talk to Susan one on one. I started off by telling her what I always said I would were I to ever meet her: she's my hero for not letting mainstream media bully her into silence about Hillary Clinton. From there, we discussed feminism and the importance of fighting just as hard for trans people as we do cis women. She's a fabulous knowledgeable ally, and I'm glad to have her in our corner.

I have been a fan of Susan's work all of my life. Her bravery in openly and unapologetically discussing her political position these past few years has made me respect her as a person. This interaction made me respect her even more. Thank you, Susan, for coming to my tiny part of America and engaging me in one of the most stimulating conversations I've had in a long time!

Last, but certainly not least, I got to speak with Danny. I held out my hand for a handshake, and was hugged. He's so sweet, friendly, and soft spoken. But, he's no less passionate than his companions. We spoke about Clinton's support of Goldwater and her kicking a Black Lives Matter activist out of one of her rallies here in South Carolina. I commended him for not bowing to the pressure of his industry, and standing by his convictions. His conversation with me reflected one of his comments to the group, "we understand where we are by virtue of what has happened in the past, and we understand where we need to go by what is happening at this particular moment and the crisis that we are in at this moment."

#Gaye fam, I'm not going to tell you to vote for Sanders, although I encourage you to vote if you are able to for whoever you feel is the best. I know you hear every election cycle that this is the most important one. This time it's more true than it's ever been. I'm terrified of what will become of this country if we get four more years of Trump.

I also encourage you to educate yourselves on these candidates. Mainstream media isn't telling you the whole story. They are putting Michael Bloomberg on a pedestal knowing full well he's supported Stop and Frisk. I agree with Senator Turner's sentiment that Bloomberg is 'rotten to the core.'

Since Sanders's first presidential bid, I've been getting my news from YouTube independent media and political commentators. My go to for candidate voting records and economic issues is Kyle Kulinski's #SecularTalk. For social justice issues it's Mike Figueredo's @HumanistReport. For racial justice and immigration issues, I follow @shaunking on Instagram.

Thanks again to Senator Turner, Susan, and Danny for taking the time to come talk to us. I do hope our paths cross again in the future.


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