Monday, November 21, 2011

The Other

Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and I think I should talk about that, but I really don't know what to say so I'll offer some scattered thoughts.

Yesterday, yes, on TDOR, NPR's show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" ran a segment where they were comparing bizarre headlines.  Which was the real outrageous headline?  Nudist Zombie Attacks Tour Guide or Drunken Transvestite Rides Manatee?  (Mind you, I'm paraphrasing)  Transvestite (the more appropriate term nowadays, or so I hear, is "cross-dresser") is used as an example of the bizarre.  My wonderful girlfriend heard this, and it upset her, so she wrote into NPR and wrote a beautifully articulate, empathetic letter explaining how hurtful this is.  Here is a bit of her letter:

The problem with your usage of the word transvestite is that it was an example of the bizarre, and was also meant to illicit laughter. This stigma is an ugly and persistent roadblock for transgender people. For my loved ones who are courageous enough to come out, many of their friends and family have no experience with transgenderism, except for media portrayals of trans people who are portrayed as having a sexual fetish, acting an outrageous role, or being unrelatable or even crazy human beings. They are taught to be disgusted by or even suspicious of such individuals instead of understanding the risk they take by daring to be true to themselves.

So, how lucky am I? ;)

I was unable to attend the ceremony in Salt Lake that honored and mourned our trans siblings we have lost to violence or ignorance, although I would have liked to attend such a candlelight vigil.

I know we need to speak out against all the violence, and to bring it to the forefront of everyone's mind.  Talk more, not less!  But sometimes as a trans person, I get really tired of hearing these stories, because they're somewhat traumatic and very frightening.  When I identified as gay, I heard about Matthew Shepard and it was terrifying.  Someone could leave me out to die, beating me nearly to death, for  I had never experienced this kind of inner-terror before.  As a trans person, of course I want more media coverage for violence against trans people.  I want us all to be disgusted.  I do not want a single victim to go unnoticed, or their story untold.

But sitting with my loved one, listening to someone explain how, after beating a trans person, the perpetrator took a large rock and smashed in their head until their skull was basically obliterated, or watching a video (Boys Don't Cry, I recommend) where the transman is raped... and then killed for reporting the rape... Well, it's traumatic, particularly because I have been raped.  I hate that I have had a conversation with my loved one about what I want them to do, or about what they want me to do, if I am attacked.  How is that right, how is that fair?  I know, I know, the world isn't fair.

In the style of Eve Ensler, I am "over" violence against trans people.  And I am over press coverage for violence against certain gay people, but not for trans people.  How am I over something I've only experienced for a couple years?

1 comment:

  1. Your NPR story reminded me of the moment I realized a year or two ago that a good portion of the "People of Walmart" blog pictures that are supposed to be hilarious are of people who are wearing gender-nonconforming clothing. It stopped being funny really fast right then.