History was made today in California’s San Joaquin Valley, when the state’s first transgender candidate announced her Congressional bid. Terra Snover broke the news at Modesto’s Pride Festival, but made time for a few questions about her goals for serving.
Tell us about your “Revive the Dream” slogan.
For many, the American dream is nothing but a distant memory. Students get out of school barely able to afford a single room, while their parents before them were able to save a down payment on an entire house. Historically the American Dream was actually an immigrant’s dream. But Ellis Island is gone, and with our current immigration system, people from other countries looking at the beautiful place we created are unable to participate in it.
If you had to focus on just one issue during your time in office, what would it be?
This one is hard because there are so many issues that need to be addressed. Perhaps the things that need fixing above all else are the elections themselves. Gerrymandering has been a nightmare for years. Citizens United has turned politicians away from the people they were sworn to represent and aligned them instead with corporate interests. The fact that certain politicians are trying to make voting harder to improve their chances of getting elected is utterly appalling. If I could make a difference by improving the election process for everyone, I would be extremely happy because voting and fairness in elections is one of the most important things about this country.
We also need to stop fighting because of Party politics. In the past, Congress women and men who didn’t get along were willing to work with each other for the betterment of their communities. The gridlock we've been seeing has done nothing but hurt the entire country. For crying out loud, we were taught how to work with each other when we were toddlers; I can’t see any reason grown individuals can’t work together despite their differences.
And we need to stop the political grandstanding of proposing laws that will go nowhere, or be immediately struck down, purely for the sake of good soundbites. This should be a noble profession, not one which acts like we are extras in an episode of House of Cards.
Does your age play a role in your campaign?
There are far too few individuals under the age of 50 in Congress, so much of the time younger voices are not heard. It's easy to ignore things like student loans, or the solvency of Social Security, when they won’t affect you personally. Young people in this country need a voice and I want to be a part of that.
What do you say to other Millennials about creating change in the world?
There are two things Millennials have to do: get involved in politics and show up at the polls. Both of these things are incredibly easy to do but they make a huge difference. Getting involved is simple; you can do things like calling your representative in the House and Senate. If your representative doesn't know you care about something, they can't fight on your behalf. And voting is even easier: all you need to do is register to vote and go to the polls. Every time; not just for presidential elections. Your vote is extremely important! It decides who runs the schools, your city council members, who you put in Congress, and that's a huge deal! Your local Representatives have more power to change your life then the President ever will.
Your website doesn't mention that you are a trans woman. How do you see your gender fitting into your campaign?
It will play a factor just as much as any person's gender or race does. It is part of who we are that affects all of our experiences. I have no idea what an African American woman's life was like, and she has no idea what growing up was like for me. But just as a man has many more thoughts about the world then just his gender, there is infinitely more to me than just the fact that I am transgender.
However, since I have first-hand experience of what it is to be a trans person, I have a unique outlook on how the world treats us. Because of that I have many ideas about how the LGBT+ community can prosper in the future. So it will be a part of my platform—just not the only foundation that I stand on.
Civil liberties should be for everyone, not just a handful of very lucky people. Proclaiming that bathroom discrimination bills are morally reprehensible is a way to show the youth of this country that bullying people who are different than you is not acceptable. Not so long ago bills like this tried to ban African American people from having these same basic rights and there was a huge movement to show that these acts of discrimination were not acceptable. Today, while there are still some major race problems in this country, gigantic strides have been made.
Do you have any thoughts about your position within history because of being California’s first transgender Congressional candidate?
It's scary to be the first of anything, because you're a pioneer and have no idea what's ahead of you. But I'm also honored because that means there will be a second and a third and a fourth until the point that you don't even need to preface the fact that someone is the Xth person. When something like being a trans-person in office becomes mundane, that will mean we’ve become truly accepted, which is the ultimate goal of any community.
Here’s an interview of Snover with Rainbow Radio’s Eddie Cabot from November 2016:
Suzanne DeWitt Hall is the author of Rumplepimple, a hilarious illustrated story book featuring a misunderstood doggy hero and his two moms. You can follow Suzanne on Facebook and Twitter, or check out her website.
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