We are in a moment of extreme uncertainty, and I don’t know how our future plays out. Things may be fine. Things may go sideways. There’s a lot of variance on the road ahead. And if everything does go worst case scenario, if I do end up killed by right-wing neo-nazis, agents of the state, or a nuclear weapon, it might help the record to tell you who I am while I still have a platform. Before my voice is silenced.


I am a trans woman. I knew I was wrong as a kid, but I didn’t have the words to explain how. When I learned those words, I used them to break the shackles of a gender that had been assigned to me, and got to be who and what I really am. I regret one or two things in my life, but I have never regretted being true to who I am. And that’s still true if I have to die for what I am.


I am queer, and kinked, and not particularly monogamous. I have found love. I have spent ten wonderful years with a woman who feels similarly, and should the world continue on I hope to have many more. But love is an exploration. Connection with another is one of the most wonderful experiences a person can have, and I would strongly advise that you try it. So long as you’re open and honest with the people you love, connection does not need to be zero sum.


I am a Quaker, a religious pacifist with reverence for the truth. I believe there is that of the goddess in each of us, and that is the spark of life. Life is the goddess, and life is inherently valuable to me. I will not willingly bend a knee to any creed that empowers its followers to commit violence. I fear that I will have to prove the sincerity of my beliefs in the times ahead, and I hope that I live up to who I think I am. Because life is valuable. And I fear I may end up having to fight for it. I fear that love alone may not save us.


I am an analyst and a writer. I interpret criminal justice data for an organization which helps get people out of the brutal jails and prisons in our nation and instead gives them opportunities to get their needs met and succeed. Justice is not about penalty, it is about making a community whole again. Certainty and celerity of punishment are far more effective deterrents than severity of sentence, and yet our legal system has adopted a severity-based model of deterrence. It is cruel, and I work alongside it to divert as many people as we can to more progressive paths. I have helped save people, and I am proud of the work that I do.


I am an activist. I have made change in the world, albeit quietly. I have stood up for what is right, even at personal cost. I hope I do so again, because it is important to stand when you can and others can’t. I bear the scars of these battles, but in my mind not my body. It is not the only trauma I’ve endured. And yet I am still here.


I live a good life. And I am happy. The right-wing propaganda down the line may portray me and mine as some miserable deviants who lived as outcasts. This is how people like me are typically written out of history. But it is untrue. I have had opportunities to do blessed things, I have been close with a great number of amazing people, and I have had a world’s worth of pleasurable experiences. I would do it all again in an instant, and perhaps, right before the very end, I will do so.


I love you all. Stay safe out there.


Jess Stirba is Lina Corvus.

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