Over the past five years I have spoken to over 100 corporations, government agencies, universities, and conferences on issues related to gender equity. My first TED Talk, about the differences between experiencing life as a man and as a woman, has been the subject of most of my talks.
While I continue to speak on the ongoing fight for gender equity, I am offering a new talk on what is happening in America with the anti-transgender laws, rhetoric, and repression that are permeating our nation. Here is the description of the new talk that my speaker’s agency will be offering throughout the United States and Canada.
When an Arkansas State Senator recently asked a transgender pharmacist in a public hearing whether she had a penis, America entered a new and dangerous period of anti-transgender rhetoric and repression. Over 300 anti-transgender bills are currently pending in over 35 states. Nineteen anti-transgender bills have already been signed into law in the last 14 months. What is going on?
As a pastoral counselor and national speaker on gender equity, with over nine million TED Talk views and a best-selling memoir about her transgender experience, Paula Stone Williams is prepared to help your company, conference, university, or agency understand why transgender issues have become such a tipping point in American culture.
With humor, insight, and a surprisingly candid perspective, Paula will increase your understanding, answer your questions, and help you navigate the dangerous cultural waters of sex and gender politics.
I am very concerned about the rights of transgender and non-binary individuals. I am about as privileged as a transgender person can get, but even I have received an uptick in emails, texts, and other forms of anti-trans rhetoric aimed at me. It affects my decisions about the places I travel. I have been avoiding Florida and any state that has recently passed anti-transgender leglislation. I avoid my home states of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia, unless I know I am going to be in a supportive environment. I can only imagine how parents with transgender children must feel.
There was a day, not so long ago, when I felt safe anywhere in America. Now, I feel about some parts of the United States like I feel about fundamentalist Muslim nations in the Middle East. They are not safe environments for a transgender person.
I am more than willing to use my platform to speak out against anti-transgender rhetoric and legislation. I have already testified against anti-trans laws and have worked with the Biden administration to bring accurate information about gender issues to the American public.
When I transitioned, I saw a clear pathway forward for transgender people. I thought it would take as little as a decade to bring about equity for trans and non-binary people in most parts of America, and not more than a couple of decades in more conservative regions.
Then came 2016. Since then, things have gotten alarmingly worse. This week’s fiasco in the Arkansas Senate is only the latest example of the danger at hand. There has been an explosion of bigotry directed at one of the most at-risk populations in our nation. Trans people have a suicide attempt rate of 41 percent, six times higher than any other people group. Transgender adolescents have a suicide completion rate 13 times higher than their peers.
These are trying times, and we all have a responsibility to stand up for the basic rights of transgender and non-binary people. Now, more than ever, we need allies willing to speak up on our behalf. We need apprentices, willing to take direction from the trans community, to help us battle the ignorance and prejudice permeating our nation.
Last week my co-pastor Kristie and her fiancee Mara joined the Parasol Patrol, using opened rainbow umbrellas to protect children going to the Broomfield, Colorado Library for a story hour with drag queens. Protestors were shouting offensive slogans at the children and their parents. My friends said they needed more people holding more umbrellas to protect the children. The protestors were calling those arriving for the story time pedophiles. It is important to note that the protestors hurling these insults were wearing face coverings to shield their identity. In my opinion, that is a sign of their deep shame about their behavior.
This is not the time to remain quiet. We must work together to protect the freedom to be who God made us to be. To do anything less is to fail our children and the principles upon which this nation was founded.