Weather is shifting like mad, so my concentration is shot. Can’t really think to write fiction, so a rambly blog is the way to go. I can hop topics and it only seems half as insane as it would in a story.
First, I want to clear something up about my stance on gay lobbies. Some people seem to be getting the impression that because I don’t care for the politics of a few well-heeled policy people that I am anti-gay, or that I want gay marriage initiatives to fail. Simply not so, and I bear no malice toward your peaceful agendas. Some of you may think that my bitterness is that I think OUR policies should be secured before theirs. Also not true.
First, I love gays, and I adore lesbians. I’ve hung out with both groups even pre-transition, and like most folks, once you take them as individuals, they’re awesome people. This is why I write about gay and lesbian characters with respect, and I hope it shows when the stories are read by the “target” groups. (I really target my work at straight people, because I don’t see a point marketing to the choir. The choir don’t need to hear the message. They live the message. It’s the straight readers who could use a little diversity and color in their reading, yo.)
Second, I do not care if the gays and lesbians want to spend millions on gay marriage or any other gay-centric policy. It’s their money, and they can spend it however they like. Same goes with DOMA and with the shambling remains of DADT. (Oh it’s down, in theory, but just try serving openly. You’re still leaving quickly.)
Where we ran into relationship problems, politically, is when the gay lobbies that I was donating money to for their gay causes (without expectation of a trans-centric policy) spent my money convincing Democrat politicans to abandon trans protections in ENDA. They did the same thing again, and again, and as each of these betrayals went down, their allies took to the gay blogs to attack and erase trans people. None of the attack blogs were erased, so you can go to any of the gay blogs and work through the archives to see the attacks made. Some of the gays spouted ignorant hate speech with all the fire and passion of a Sunday school minister.
And that stung, people. Not because they pursued their gay agenda, but because they pursued an agenda to suppress my rights with money I gave them. “Thanks so much for your support. Oh, by the way, we’re using your money to strip your rights out of ENDA.” That’s how the HRC says you’re welcome for annual donations for three years running. They and the other organizations that betrayed us continue to receive funding, and when another ENDA comes up, I fully expect to have to fight with gay lobbies and church groups to attempt to get a trans-inclusive ENDA in the next elective cycle. I should be counting gay lobbies as allies in any upcoming ENDA fight, but history has taught me that in the final hours of the fight, there will be a “gay Judas” twist coming.
I know that’s not all gays, but it’s the lobbies who I formerly paid who thanked me by betraying my people. That is bullshit no matter how you slice it. And please note that despite the gay lobbies’ many successful attempts to strip trans people of their protections, resulting in a flailing weaker bill that failed to pass every single time, at no time did the trans lobbies suggest an ENDA with gay protections taken out. At no time will you EVER hear trans lobbies suggesting the same tactic used against GL people. This isn’t a game of tit for tat and we’re not petty people. We’re just bitter over the GL lobbies being politically petty with us.
If you are gay and reading this, I put it to you this way: you know how pissed off you get when some church lady stops you and your boyfriend from holding hands for the sake of her kids? Take that feeling of helpless rage, and imagine that you’re a trans person watching gay bloggers say that your rights are less important than theirs. Imagine that the group you paid money to for their polices turned around and stripped your protections from a shared policy because it appeared politically convenient for them to do so. I won’t even talk about the personal attacks that many bloggers made against trans people, revealing that they have more hate toward us than some religious haters. But if this kind of hate was directed against you by another group, you’d be pissed off too.
It’s the same thing with Dan Savage. As recently as this week, he’s been spouting anti-trans hate slurs. But the gays won’t abandon Dan because he made “It Gets Better.” Which is in itself bullying bullied gay kids into silence, but doing it in such a nice way that people making the videos feel good about telling the kids “Deal with it now, because it gets better later.” That it does not get better later, doesn’t get mentioned. That Dan’s campaign bullies bis and trans people into silence, isn’t mentioned. The anti-bullying campaign of a bully is praised by gays and straights as mildly helpful for some victims, even as it continues to bully other people into silence and traumatize more victims. It’s like people are saying to the newly made victims, “Can’t you be happy that the bully at least empathizes with his own kind?” Uh, no, because that mindset of only looking out for your own is exactly the same Us VS Them mentality of an organized religion, and it isn’t healthy. It isn’t if you’re straight or gay. Or trans, for that matter. (Which is why I try to look past my own people to help others where I can.)
So if you see this kind of hate speech used by faux-celebrity gays in public spaces, and you still can’t grasp why trans people would become disenfranchised with gay lobbies, then you are probably also one of the gays most likely to erase me or your bi associates because it isn’t kosher to your personal view of the world. Meaning you’re just as ignorant as a devoted young Earth creationist.
Not all gays are like this. I know that a lot aren’t. But those that aren’t should not tell me not to be angry at the attacks made by Savage, or by other toxic gay pundits. You people need to own your shit just as much as Christians need to own theirs. You don’t need to apologize for Dan’s comments like you said it personally, but you could at least acknowledge that he’s been attacking bi and trans people while at the same time claiming to be against bullying. You could at least admit the leader of this movement is a hypocrite and shift your resources to a campaign for real change instead of supporting a jerk and giving him a platform to be an even bigger jerk with continued donations and videos.
And there is no turning this back and saying trans people didn’t help gays, or that we won’t in the future. We have a history of backing you, financially and with clout and moral support, while your lobbies have a history of abandoning us. Again, if you feel my anger for being abandoned is wrong, you’re no better than the Christians who are putting down your rights. Which means it isn’t me shutting down the lines of communication. It’s you being unable to look past your own experiences to see how your political lobbies are treating so-called allies.
And topic shift in 3, 2, 1…
I want to remind you again that November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I also want to remind you that somewhere in the world, every 36 hours, a trans victim dies for expressing their gender. This is a day when we remember those we lost to violence, and this grim statistic should be considered side by side with our 42% suicide rate. We’re losing people left and right under the biggest storm of hate in decades, and the numbers of people we’re losing is going up. TDOR is our holiday of grieving where we have to confront the numbers of our dead and confirm that no, it is not getting better. It is getting much worse for us in a lot of places.
I do want to try and close this on a positive note and say that a poll of Catholics found something like 70% in favor of trans rights. Problem is, I don’t think this is a sentiment consistent across all religions. But there have also been other surveys showing that as a nation, people in the US are not opposed to trans rights, in theory. I need to point out that every state that voted for an anti-gay marriage amendment ALSO polled as being against gay discrimination, in theory. So I’m not that confident about my chances of getting a trans-inclusive ENDA running in the next legislative cycle.
There is hope that someday, I can get people to look at these numbers and connect them to faces of people who were murdered for choosing to be themselves. I think a good step toward that is by visiting http://www.rememberingourdead.org/ on November 20 (Or today works too) and going through the list of names. Think about how each of these people were murdered because of transphobia and transmisogyny. Think about someone choosing to end your life because they didn’t like how you dressed. Forget choice of religion or the color of one’s skin. This is hate because a person is perceived as having improper fashion sense. This violence is the extreme and real side effects of the fashion police in society making citizens assaults in the name of good taste. Yes, it’s really that shallow and petty. And it’s lethal for us. When it isn’t lethal, it’s permanently scarring, which only makes our suffering worse when everyone’s flippant advice is “just get over it.” Well we would…if the abuse would stop. Then, and only then, do we all have a hope in hell of “getting over it.”
And now, think of a time when we have a trans-inclusive ENDA, and it’s enforced. Think of a time when trans people can celebrate TDOR because we had very low numbers of casualties that are plunging rapidly as a global trend. Imagine this instead of our mourning rising numbers this year. Think of a time when our kids aren’t told they can’t go to school because it distracts other kids, or when bullies will be sent to sensitivity training for hitting us, instead of us being sent to a counselor and told to shut up and stop talking about our problems like they’re such a big deal.
It’s a pipe dream for me, the day when other people agree to stop hating because they admit it’s wrong. But it’s a dream that I still want to believe in, even if right now many people seem opposed to giving up on discrimination and hate.
But my roundabout point is, even if I come across as bitter, I don’t want to turn the tables on my tormentors, or to get revenge for past slights. I don’t want anyone to be stuck in my position after I vacate it. And when I say nobody, I mean nobody. So yes, people, I’m pissy and angry a lot. But I’m pissy because the positions in life of my people has not changed from when I was a tortured child. The next generation of kids are still being tortured by their educators and their classmates. That’s terrible, but I don’t want to return the favor or wish for equal punishment on bullies, adult or child. I just want a better life for kids like me. And if I’m seen as acting entitled for asking normal people to stop killing and harassing our people, then I’ve failed to communicate the gravity of our problems somehow.
Either that, or you just lack the empathy to see past my anger.