I wanted to write about how privilege has shaped our nation so much, and maybe I will do a bonus post later about that, though I am finding it hard to write even this. The past week has been a roller coaster ride, culminating in my being hired by NYPIRG to canvass for their anti-fracking campaign. Continue reading
It is so very easy to get caught up in our own concerns, to be exhausted with suffering “the slings and arrows” as the bard put it, that we are ready to lash out at the first person that moves wrong in our presence. Anything can be taken out of context and if we don’t take a minute to wonder how a statement was intended we can easily take it as a slight. Such is the case with the brouhaha over a post by Dannielle Owens-Reid, most famous now for Everyone is Gay, on Tumblr. Continue reading
If I haven’t mentioned this before, though I am pretty sure I have, being trans is not for the faint of heart. We face being ostracized by our families, harassment at work, confusion in public spaces and even violence. We are often marginalized even by those that fight for the disenfranchised. In particular we often experience some rather brutal rhetoric from the radical feminist community. Continue reading
I know there is still a long way to go. We should not despair but we should not get our hopes up too early. There is still so very much work to be done and no where is it more evident than in this video:
To quote Marvin Gaye ”only love can conquer hate.” I’m not about to disagree with him, but it sure seems like hate is gaining ground here. I cannot pretend to know exactly what is going on in her mind, but her body language (tense and closed) and her tone of voice are loud and clear. She speaks with not-at-all disguised disgust towards these “boys” being allowed in Girl Scouts.
That last point is important. This is no slip of the tongue from someone one casually ignorant of trans issues. She punches “boy” every time she says it. She wants you to know there is no way she is going to consider a trans woman as being a woman. She also punches the word “honesty” a lot, which is a tidy little go to hot button for any pro-transphobia activist.
Trans folk are so bogged down with questions about honesty, even from ourselves, that it is so easy to paint us all as filthy, delusional, little liars. This young woman (probably with coaching from an adult in her life) does not do this outright. Oh no, make it about the girl scouts but keep punching that word, keep it in the head of those people who were on the cusp of learning tolerance are reminded, “hey yeah, don’t those trannies lie about who they are?”
This meme is so prevalent that even those employers that want to be allies are turned off to hiring an out and transitioning trans person because they do not want to be viewed as “pulling one over” on their clientele. We cannot stay in the closet, we cannot stealth, we cannot transition openly because that would somehow be “tricking” people. Every move we make is scrutinized. Can’t afford to pass: you must not be serious about transition and therefor have lied to everyone. You can afford to pass but can’t afford SRS: you’re a gay man trying to trick young, straight men into having sex with you.
Being trans is fraught with so many legitimate questions about identity that it is perfectly understandable for even allies to get confused and frustrated. Then the hatemongers turn around and do their level best to amplify it all. It works too. I’ve written before on transphobia in the LGBxQ ranks and a little in the feminist ranks. While the issues are complex, they are no doubt fueled quite a bit by the hysteria the flat out bigots spread around.
All in all I will try to live by Marvin’s words. As angry as I am, I cannot bring myself to hate this young lady, nor the adults that likely prodded her into making the video. In the meantime I will applaud the Girls Scouts for living up to those words and for their honesty.