If This Makes You Angry, Good.
Pardon me for being absolutely, inexcusably crude, but, you know what’s stupid?
That I have to keep writing these essays. That you have to keep reading about the rights of LGBT Americans being threatened every day. That we’re being banned, terms that define us erased, and while lawmakers wage an outright war against Transgender men and women across the America, from sea to shining sea, we have to keep reminding each other we’ll be okay.
We have to write inspirational quips about pushing forward, organizing to influence chance, usurping the evangelical Christians holding our nation hostage- and by that, I don’t mean placing a ransom on it, but instead, severing us from our rights, our dignities and our ability to function in greater society, just like everyone else who is fortunate enough to fall within the gold standard of desirability. And we just watch it get worse.
Let’s be honest, currently we have very few politicians fighting for our right to exist. While Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both now relegated to delivering meme-worthy quotes off hallmark cards on twitter and facebook, could have represented us, they didn’t. While their agenda may not be “Make America White again, Christian again, straight again, cisgender again, male dominated again” they’re not bothering to say, “Let the Transgender people live their lives according to the rights and privileges we all do.” The cacophony of voices in the opposition is far louder than any support in this administration.
I’m still not quite certain what disjointed reality I’ve slipped into where someone with at least a thread of moral fiber remaining doesn’t stop cold in their tracks and says “Whoa! Wait a minute, this doesn’t sound right. This doesn’t sound fair. This doesn’t sound American. Why aren’t Transgender people entitled to the American Dream…” whatever that was. In the bellows of opposition coming from the parapets of power, it seems like we’re the only ones returning fire. From the ground.
People love to use the old argument “If you want change, go vote.” Well, when even that’s compromised, which 17 intelligence agencies determined it was, how do we continue to vote with confidence. In the upcoming midterms, I’m delighted to announce that there are a multitude of LGBT people running for seats in both local and state political races. Recently a couple of Transwomen won a seat, usurping the conservative Republicans in a district Trump had won previously by over 20 points. There’s reason for optimism… but complacency is what led us here, and we cannot fall victim to that again.
Personally, I don’t want to spend another three years writing about the senseless killings of Trans women of color, or more young Trans kids committing suicide, or new laws being passed that segregate us from the “normal” majority, or bemoaning the fact that we’re being systematically excluded from every major national debate- even the 2020 census proposes to erase us from society.
This isn’t a debate anymore, where two sides deliberate the pros and cons of domestic issues. This is a radical attack on a segment of the population that is being threatened with each new state bill or ominous 4 am tweet. This isn’t a conversation where we sit down and present our case- we’re not given a voice, no one is volunteering to be one on the senate floors, thus, we have no defense. So we keep rallying, marching, holding each other up during the darkest of days, and demonstrating solidarity when the goal, clearly, is to divide us.
How many of you are tired of hearing it? Are you exhausted yet? Do you feel like you’re living in some bizarre episode of Black Mirror or the victim of an epic prank where any minute Ashton Kutcher is going to pop up from behind the desk in the oval office and gleefully announce, “You’ve been Punk’d?”
We’ve come to the point where delivering counter points- reinforcing what is right instead of wrong and attempting to inject logic and rational is futile. It doesn’t exist on the other side. We’re attempting to reason with insanity, and that’s a battle that is never won. They stick their fingers in their ears, holler something about Jesus and pedophiles and men wearing dresses to rape little girls, and nothing to the contrary is received. We must accept that our opposition, all of them, from government leaders to Radfem’s and TERFs, to religious zealots and conservatives, live in their own little Trans-exclusionary world. The President himself has given them permission. Their resistance to the outside reality which consists of people not like them; A bunch of manufactured villains and deviants, is encouraged by those in power positions.
When we speak, it is without a doubt, to ourselves. We’re doing the whole “Preaching to the choir” song and dance. Anyone who stumbles upon my articles that isn’t one of us has taken the liberty to look me up on facebook, sending me hilariously threatening messages, call me a “Fa**ot in women’s clothes” or even something called a INCEL- which I had to google, I confess, but it means to be “involuntarily celibate”, a person (usually male) who has a horrible personality and treats women like sexual objects and thinks his lack of a sex life comes from being “ugly” when its really just his blatant sexism and terrible attitude. That gave me a good laugh. It was from a woman. A lesbian who finds that my being Transgender is an expression of “Lesbophobia.” I admit that I find it odd that people I readily ally with when they find themselves on the receiving end of oppression would so quickly, and unabashedly, turn on me.
I’ve campaigned against homophobia for years; Against Kim Davis, who refused to offer same sex couples marriage licenses. I spoke out vehemently against the bakery that refused to bake a cake for a loving lesbian couple. I’ve championed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” I’ve marched for women’s rights to their own choices, and equal pay for equal work- and suffice it to say, the women I regard as my parents are an older lesbian couple. So, to find myself on the end of the proverbial knife of Radfems was interesting, to say the least. Yet, they are just one of the sects who rally against the inclusion and normalizing of Transgender women- they’re at least more forgiving to Trans men, who they just perceive as women that we have seduced and brainwashed into out collective, still denying them any ownership of their gender identity… in fact, refuting it altogether, but with some semblance of sympathy.
Trans women, on the other hand, are the epitome of evil in their world. We are the antagonist in their narrative wherein they play the hero hellbent on stopping us from…
…From what, exactly? From being happy? Enjoying our lives? Moving through society without judgmental stares and hostile remarks on our appearance, uninvited commentary or blatant disapproval?
It makes no sense. None. And no matter how any times you engage, you soon find yourself going in circles and falling into the mouth of madness. To keep negotiating at a table where you sit alone, abandoned by the other party who has made up their mind, is self defeating.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all locked horns with a Transphobic zealot quoting bible verses, or a conservative- who usually ends up on the front page of the daily news for asking little boys to sit on his face- who insists that Trans people are mentally ill; A sort of mass psychosis. And when our sisters are murdered at an alarming frequency, they say “Rest in power.”
Where is her power? She was rendered powerless in life, and no one beyond her own community cared about her until she was number X… they’re counting us now, our deaths, and then asking the murder victims to rest in power. I can’t think of anything more condescending or insulting than to be a disenfranchised minority, robbed of my voice, attacked by my government, ridiculed by my peers and then told to rest in power. What power has she got now, pray tell, that she didn’t have before, because she wasn’t allowed it?
I’ve had a few readers refer to me as a pessimist. I reject that term. I’m a realist. It does no one any favors to delude ourselves, or lull ourselves into a false sense of security. Maybe we shouldn’t be distracted by our intention to deliver our message to the masses softly. I’m not worried about ruffling feathers.
That this is 2018, and we’re still leaving letters, posts, editorials, essays, social media statuses pleading for our right to exist without retribution is exactly what I deemed it at the beginning of this article; Stupid.
Stupid is an ugly word, but I’m pretty immune to ugly words nowadays.
But, most importantly, I want to leave you with this; While it is, indeed, stupid, it’s necessary. More so than ever. We have to keep talking. We have to keep building this legacy, documenting this history of a place and time of what we’ve endured so that the children of tomorrow will know, and they might appreciate the gravity of the injustices committed against Trans people…
… and while the fight is arduous, the arguments repetitive, the logic falling on deaf ears over and over again in favor of a self-manifested hatred toward us, it is these words, and our stories, that will prevent history from repeating itself.
So I fully intend to keep doing what I’m doing, as stupid and redundant as it feels as I roll my eyes and find myself saying the same things again as if, maybe, one time it will hit a soft spot in the brain of a bigot and shake them from their lofty tower. It’s not likely, and I get that. That’s why some think it’s pointless.
But silence has never gotten us anywhere.
And silence will never be remembered.