Saturday, November 24, 2018

Transgender Day of Remembrance 11/20/18

This past Tuesday, November 20, was the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  I had good intentions of posting about it on the day, but something nasty came up that changed the tone of the whole piece and then I didn't want to ruin people's Thanksgiving holidays by bringing it up (or my own by dredging it up again).

But I need to talk about this, so now that everyone's had a nice holiday with friends and family, it's time to talk about what happened.

For those who don't know, the Transgender Day of Remembrance was created in 1999 to memorialize transgender people who have been killed due to transphobia. In the past year there have been over 30 transgender people murdered for no reason other than hatred and fear.

This year, my friend Svengine Karinsdatter -- a transwoman and Second Amendment activist --  started compiling a list of stories and statements on "Why do you, a transman/transwoman, carry a gun?" Here's my story:
I only felt comfortable coming out as transgender after I bought a pistol and received my concealed carry permit.

Now let me clear: I am NOT saying that having a pistol gave me courage. A gun isn't a magical talisman that keeps its owner safe!

Instead, having a concealed carry gun meant that I practiced with it and felt competent with it. Feeling confident in my ability to protect myself from those who wish violence upon me gave me agency in the face of oppression and another tool for my toolbox -- whereas my previous options were "Run away", "Never leave the house/Never be my authentic self" or "Be a victim", I had the new, bold option of "Be myself without worrying that people would try to hurt me for it."

Having a gun gave me agency; having agency gave me the ability to become my authentic self; being my authentic self is what gives me confidence and courage. Because of that, I can be my authentic self without even needing a gun. (Although I still carry one, because I know evil exists in this world.)

All well and good, right? Well, it was until these two things happened:

Here we see the expected argument of "Transgender people are crazy and crazy people shouldn't have guns, so even though I say I'm pro-gun I'm all for denying people their Second Amendment rights without Due Process  if they make me feel icky."  What's distressing about it is that this person had previously Liked the Operation Blazing Sword page, which meant that they were okay with teaching homosexual people how to shoot but drew the line at teaching transgender people.

This attitude, by the way, is a violation of all that Operation Blazing Sword represents. WE WILL TEACH ANYONE FIREARMS SAFETY AND OPERATION, regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, political affiliation, or manner of dress. The Second Amendment is for EVERYONE.

But as bad as that one was, this one was worse:

Why is that one worse? It's because this person manages a Facbook page called "LGBT for Gun Rights".

Yes. You read that correctly. Someone who manages a page which is supposed to be about the gun rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people spouted anti-transgender rhetoric on a post about the Transgender Day of Remembrance on the Operation Blazing Sword page. And yes, he had also Liked our page.


The sad thing is, this isn't uncommon. Many gay and lesbian people think that Transgender people shouldn't be under the LGBTQ tent because as far as they're concerned, "Being transgender isn't a sexual orientation, it's a gender issue."

For people who don't get it, that's the LGBT rainbow flag kicking the transgender flag under the bus. 
I have said this before, and I know I'll say it a hundred more times before I die, but the queer community is its own worst enemy. If you still doubt that, look at this post and then ask yourself why it doesn't just say "Pride is for everyone" or even "Pride is for everyone, including allies."

The fact that this even needs to be said is screaming proof that we hurt our cause more than any politician ever will. If we can't stop fighting amongst ourselves long enough to stand up against those who want to hurt us and oppress us, then our own internal conflicts will bring is down before outside pressures do.

For those of you who aren't part of "the scene", let me give you a brief primer:
  • As mentioned earlier, Gay and Lesbian people think that Transgender people shouldn't be under the LGBTQ tent because "being transgender isn't a sexual orientation, it's a gender issue";
  • Yet Transgender people say that Gays and Lesbians have it easy because they don't stand out in everyday life, and besides it's socially acceptable to be homosexual these days, so if anything trans folks are more oppressed and deserve MORE representation;
  • Meanwhile, EVERYONE bags on Bisexual folks due to a combination of 
    1. unfounded fear that the Bi person will be unsatisfied with only one type of genital and cheat/wander/leave their significant others and 
    2. jealousy that a bi person can adopt a hetero-normative lifestyle and reap all the benefits without suffering any of the ill effects. 
  • Then there are the Aces (asexuals) and Aros (aromantics) who no one really knows what to do with because what kind of social oppression do they face? If they aren't being victimized for their sexuality then they don't "count" as "authentically queer."

This is the big reason why I prefer the use of the word "queer" to "LGBTQ": one is an inclusive umbrella term that emphasizes our similarities, while the other reinforces the opinion that we're all so specifically different that we need our own letter or else we're being oppressed.

We all belong here. We all deserve life and happiness. I long for the day that we no longer need to form into tribes to defend ourselves and terms like "transgender" and "homosexual" carry carry no prejudice and are used purely as descriptive terms like "blonde" and "brunette" are now.

But that day is not today. Today, we mourn our dead, those who were murdered for daring to live as their authentic selves. Today, we remember them, and we do whatever we can to reduce next year's death toll.

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