Essay on Graduation Speech : No Sum Of Money

Essay on Graduation Speech : No Sum Of Money

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For no sum of money would I agree to repeat high school. Blessed with a heavy dose of femininity and absolutely no athleticism, my enrollment in an all-boys Catholic prep school seemed less like a privilege and more akin to a sick joke. Having bumped into my former classmates over the years, I know most memories are tied to my coming out senior year, but it was not about being the first openly gay student, and instead was done in hope that my confirmation would end the incessant need for calling me a “faggot”. Under the pain, you can find some good memories peppered in there, like my participation in Speech and Debate, which, alongside glee, band, and the robotics club, offered solace, as there was an implicit “No Bullies Allowed” rule. Here could set aside the fear of ridicule, and hone my confidence with public speaking skills that ultimately lead me to law school and beyond. While prepping for my debates I discovered my love of data. Following hours of research, I’d commit all the findings to memory and, in keeping with the fashion of the original Lincoln-Douglas Debate, use to undermine my opponents argument, leaving them little credible evidence for them to stand on. Although facts once offered hope, today the statistics relevant to my cause showcase a society where wanton cruelty and tragic outcomes are endemic of my extremely vulnerable community.

In just the first few months of this year, we’ve already had 6 recorded suicides of transgender youth. The latest death, Blake Brockington, spirited away at the tender age of 18, from all accounts a hopeful teenager, made the solemn decision to take his own life. Never having the privilege of meeting Brockington and reticent to interject personal speculation into a topic so somb...


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... birthday.

Again, I don’t know exactly what Brockington deemed, or any other transgender victim of suicide, sufficient enough to arrive at that fateful decision, but it doesn’t require an inordinate amount of empathy to see how without a paradigmatic shift, the failings of our system will always provide for the same result. In the words of William Shakespeare, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”

Every transgender person knows that visibility heightens their chances of being targeted, but the reason choose visibility over darkness is because, in the words of Brockington, we, “want other trans youth to understand they not alone and that this is a large community.” Mourn all lost before their time, but keep their memory alive and visible when choosing what side of history on which you’ll be counted.

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