March’s poll results were interesting. 85% of you said that T should remain part of the GLBTQ family. This was what I had expected. It is a double-edge sword for most trans individuals. We need to be recognized and a few of us (not all) originally come from or end up going to a same-sex relationship. Much of the trans-movement came out of the the LGBTQ and vice-versa. Whether this will continue in the long term is hard to say. Days like International Transgender Day of Visibility are showing more and more that trans folk want to be heard and not ride on the “coat tails” of the LGB movement but rather stand on our own. I still believe that we benefit more, at this point, by being part of the larger voice but it’s frustrating when that voice demonizes us as well.
Certainly there is a distinction between sexual orientation and gender orientation but there is so much cross-over of the two that they really can’t be fully separated. It doesn’t mean that one should have preference over the other as far as rights are concerned. In reality, it should be about everyone’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, whatever that may be. For most people, this is actually what happens. The problem is that the media and society only portray the worst of us rather than balancing things out (contrary to what Fox News claims, they are not the most balanced news out there). Learning to be open to all sides makes a difference, in my opinion, as to how wonderful life can be.
I was talking with a friend recently and we both commented on how people we expected would be more open are less so and vice-versa. It has been an interesting eye-opener for me. I’ve been taught, so to speak, from various “trans family” members that the whole of society is out to get us and doesn’t want us (for whatever reason). Part of this is why people go stealth (there are other reasons including — but not limited to — final transition to “true gender”). But it did make me wonder if perhaps I was being taught FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) about cis-individuals when there really wasn’t an issue (I will state forthright that I am white and I suspect that some of this may be white privilege — I know from discussions with some POC trans individuals that their experience is different; it’s hard for me to speak to that experience as I haven’t experienced it and I dearly hope that they never have nor have to either experience it).
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” — Kurt Cobain
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real risk out there. And nor does it mean that there isn’t, for the most part, an acceptance as to who you are even if you are trans. I come to the following conclusions (your opinion may vary from mine):
- we’ve come a long way in the last 40 years. Because of trans activists who put their lives on the line (literally) society is a little more “accepting” of trans individuals
- non-POC trans individuals and trans individuals with privilege get more acceptance than POC and/or non-privileged trans individuals
- “society” (generalist statement) sees the word “transsexual” and the following words come to mind: MTF, transvestite, pervert, pedophile, rapist, sissy (human being and/or person is never included)
- violence and discrimination against trans individuals still occurs but seems to occur more often due to class/race (doesn’t make it right; just means it’s the same shit being tossed at an “easier” target)
- there’s still a lot of work to be done
So to that end, I was pondering how to word April’s poll. I figured it might be best to split this in half. For April I want to ask how many trans individuals have actually faced direct discrimination (or indirect if you found out afterwards that the discrimination was due to being trans)?