This little tidbit has been making the rounds on Facebook today: a bit of advice, from Pat Robertson, posted on Raw Story. The funny thing is, Pat really was not being an asshole here (I know, I was surprised too.) He only tells the caller that his ENTIRE sexual past is just that, the past and does not need to be paraded out. Raw Story fails to quote any particular transphobic langauge on Robertson’s part. There is plenty to hang on his sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Christian privilege defending neck, but not this particular crime, at least not in this instance.
No, what was really interesting about all this was the responses I saw from so-called progressives on this. From people who fancied themselves the better of Tea Party Republicans when it comes to LGBT issues I saw comments along the line of “well I wouldn’t admit to having sex with a transsexual either.” Because, of course, that would just be too humiliating, right? Why then the boys might think you are queer and you are liberal but not THAT liberal.
Why do so-called allies think it is OK to make us the butt of their jokes, which is exactly what they are doing when they do this kind of thing. We are not even talking about borderline stuff making light of trans issues that they do not understand, this is outright making us the punchline. Then when we point this out we are being touchy, or trying to force political correctness on them (and really, the twisting of that term the last twenty-five years is nothing short of disgusting.)
For the life of me I do not understand why this is such a hard concept to get. Slowly but surely we are teaching young people that calling things “gay” to express displeasure is hurtful to gay folks, but it is still OK to make us a sexual bogey man. How can you not see how harmful this is, not just to my feelings, but to my safety? How can you not understand that continuing this meme undermines my basic humanity and is part of what leads to far too many of my trans sisters being dead?
Is my very being so frightening to you that you have to defend yourself from that fear by making a joke of me? Don’t answer that, it was rhetorical. I know we are hard to get. Centuries of gender policing, sexual dogmatism, and needless xenophobia has made you absolutely terrified of us. You find it perfectly acceptable to make us not just the butt of your jokes, but the objects of your sexual anxieties. You make us your punch lines and leave us punch drunk. Battered by our own anxieties, created from the very real prospect of violence against us, violence encouraged by your behavior, too many of us take our own lives before someone else gets the chance.
But please, make it all about you and your “right” to say what you want. Don’t make it about a responsibility to think through what you have to say. Don’t admit that right comes with the need to accept the consequences of your actions. No, it is alright, because it ultimately does not hurt you . The joke is on us, and what do you care if the laughter drowns out the very real tears we are crying over very real consequences of the narrative you write with your cruel humor? Make yourself feel better about our existence, because you definitely do not have the time to think about what that existence is like.