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The Mandate of One Among Us (Translated from Chinese Version)

One Among Us began as, and is most importantly, in the business of honoring the memory of those in the transgender and gender diverse (TGD) community who have passed away, and that business will not change. This means that we are a transgender service organization and transgender community built around the deceased, or more accurately, around the relationship between the living and the deceased. Both the living and the deceased should be part of our diverse and spiritual trans community. We would not be able to come together and unite as an organization that serves the living without a common memory and remembrance of the deceased. Therefore, in every activity and business we do, we should try our best to involve both the living and the dead. Despite the lines between the two sides of the River Styx (or, say, the Galaxy), we must take into account the people who are silently watching over us on the other side. Our anthem, flag, and other symbols of our organization should all serve the purpose of connecting the living and the dead.

We know that remembrance must not be totally private and must be political in nature. However, we also know that the starting point of this public, political nature lies in the intimate connection between self and other. Therefore, we as an organization should never be too proud to take the place of the deceased in expressing political views that do not belong, that are arrogant and frivolous. But this does not mean that we should follow the principle of 'depoliticization': we believe that, in our time, to be transgender or trans-friendly is to face a life that, even if one does not expect to be thrown into all kinds of political and social strife, one is, intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or coercively, taking on more political responsibilities. Therefore, we believe that, at the very least, the promotion of social justice and fairness, and the promotion of the freedom of each individual to choose to express his or her identities, including gender, reflects the wishes of the deceased as a whole, and should not be viewed as disrespectful to the deceased, nor should it be viewed as undermining the neutrality of the memorial.

Since it is a transgender community built around the deceased, we are bound to carry with us a bitter reflection on the fragility and vulnerability of life. In the current social era, the lives of the transgender community are even more fragile due to the common hardships and dilemmas we face. We do not glorify these sufferings, but we are not ashamed to talk about our own sufferings and weaknesses, in which we watch out for each other and persevere. We stand with all individuals and their communities who have not yet gained equal rights, even though there is no single 'identity' that identifies them. We strive to promote social change for the well-being of our fellow community members, and realize that without the well-being of all humanity, there can be no individual happiness, realizing that what true happiness is is always a difficult question to answer. Even though efforts to advance social change are often lost, we hope to share and heal each other's wounds in the process, and to promote mutual gratitude and reconciliation.

We are an "East Asian and Diaspora Transgender Community": our members are either from East Asia or have always had a connection to East Asia at some point in their lives. East Asia here is not East Asia geographically, but rather East Asia as method: it is neither 'central', unable to fit into mainstream and hegemonic narratives, nor 'marginal', always desiring to materialize and standardize another value system as opposed to the mainstream. Our critical connection to East Asia lies in the fact that while we need to restrain our desire to fit into the 'center', we also need to avoid presenting ourselves as the 'periphery', mutually fulfilling with the center: we need to be constantly reflective, consciously living in a state of liminality between the 'center' and the 'periphery', and in tension with all self-evident cultures and traditions, whether they are new or old.

Therefore, our organizations also need to blur the boundaries between the 'inside' and the 'outside', to recognize the intersectionality between organizational members, community partners, and service recipients, and to promote openness and inclusiveness, rather than creating a small circle that is only 'inside'. Of course, this does not mean that we tolerate any degree of violence against the community or members of the organization.

As a not-for-profit organization, in order to better serve and meet the requirements of the place of registration for not-for-profit organizations, we must have considerable professional capacity to gain and reproduct knowledge on various aspects of community and peer support. However, we are also clearly aware that professionalization and institutionalization are not the purpose of an organization, but only a tool to maintain its existence and quality of services; and that in an era where capitalism has not yet ended, professionalization and institutionalization inevitably impede the free and comprehensive development of human beings in some ways. Therefore, we follow the principle of minimal specialization and avoid success at all costs. Professionalism must not give way to our ethics and integrity, to our collective will and expectations.

Licensed under CC BY 4.0