Last month I was elected delegate and chair or my precinct in the Utah Democratic Party. In other words, I showed up at a meeting with nearby neighborhoods and sat among four of my neighbors to decide upon representatives.
In many lower income neighborhoods, no one showed up. If anyone did, they'd automatically be the chair, vice-chair, delegate, and so on for that "precinct". Just a few years ago when everyone was beat down from eight years of the Bush administration there were MANY empty tables. This time around, the meeting was packed and full of enthusiasm.
Since then I've had local candidates hounding me daily. Two have sent me little trees to plant and letters about why they will be the most superb of all superb. I've received robo-calls and personal calls. The icing on the cake occurred when one night around 8pm while laying on my couch in the dark sick, alone, with puffy eyes covered in phlegm rags, I heard a knock at the door.
I have a door with a window made of glass that partially obscure and, as I got closer, I saw a tall silhouette with a cowboy hat standing silently outside, waiting.
I don't know a single human being who wears a cowboy hat. And after reading hours of my Preacher comics where the Saint of Killers runs around slaughtering everyone, I felt a twinge of anxiety.
I answered the door, "Hello?", to be greeted by an enthusiastic candidate.
Aside from speaking with candidates, I spent last Saturday with Jude at the Democratic County Convention (county conventions are held to nominate local candidates and to select state delegates). Here our fellow Democrats starved us to death with no lunch break scheduled until, at around 4pm, we were finally able to savor the deliciousness of nourishing edible substance that didn't come from a vending machine.
Registration started at 7:30am. Jude and I didn't get there until around 8:15am (we're the best delegates ever!), then spent about 15 minutes wandering around until we eventually found the registration lines. Fortunate for me, my line was about 30 minutes shorter than Jude's, giving me time to make it to the Stonewall caucus (the LGBQT caucus).
The entire building for the convention was plastered with candidate signs, t-shirts, banners and buttons. The cafeteria especially; with tables galore. Almost all of the tables had candy and treats to lure us in. Which worked, when it came to bananas or licorice.
After registering, I was given a delegate badge with the name "Melanie" on it. I asked the volunteer doing registration, "Would you mind if I had the first name on this changed? I'm trans, and will be legally changing this in the near future.", to which he replied, "Oh, of course. I assumed, actually. Let's get that fixed for you."
On a side note, I getting more aggressive about getting it changed. I've sent the first necessary form twice now, which needs to be signed and returned to me before I'm able to proceed. It's never sent back, however, so I mailed it again today.
He hopped up, took me to another table, covered "Melanie", had me write "Mel", had it signed and made official, then returned it to me. Simple, said, done.
I imagine if that exact.same.thing happened at the Republican convention how the response to my being openly trans or having the name "Melanie" would've been.
After registration the caucuses all met. The Utah Democratic Party recognizes 14 state-wide caucuses, who all focus on promoting issues related to their mission:
African American Caucus
Pacific Islander Caucus
Utah Public Employees Caucus
Young Democrats of Utah
Jude joined me in the Stonewall Caucus. Turns out, this is the largest caucus of all 14 and just 10 years ago it was the smallest (so I hear). In addition, I recognized at least three other transgender delegates - which is pretty amazing given that this is one of the most conservative GOP states in the U.S.
Throughout, speeches were given. Voting commenced. More speeches given. More voting commenced.
The entire feel of this convention was very, very different than last time I attended one. The last time I there were the Hillary/Obama delegations, and most enthusiasm stemmed from that. This time around, there were even more people, participation and enthusiasm - and the overall permeating feel was energetic and hopeful.
Look what I stumbled across! Mr. Transman Grid and Rocco (Katastrophe) in Allison Michael Orenstein’s Mr. Transman gallery .
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