Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day dedicated "to memorializing those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice."

Transgender women, particularly trans women of color, are disproportionately likely to be victims of violence and murder. In 2012, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs noted that 53% of all anti-LGBTQ hate crimes were committed against transgender women and that 73% of homicide victims were people of color.

I'd like to first start by linking to Monica's posts on TDOR - 238 names and Thinking About the Girls Likes Us Who Didn't Get a TDOR Memorial.

Second, I'd like to note that even as society in general more readily acknowledges that overt bigotry against gay men and lesbians is unacceptable, anti-trans bigotry continues to be pervasive in both overt and subtle ways, both within and outside gay and lesbian-dominated, cis-dominated LGBT communities.  As marriage equality for same-sex couples becomes more readily accepted in the US, I think we will see a shift in anti-LGBT organizations devoting more resources toward actively opposing measures that could benefit transgender people.

That's not to say that anti-gay groups have never targeted or disapproved of transgender people, but rather, that they usually have done so somewhat flippantly with an air of, "Transgender issues are obviously so absurd we don't even have to rebut them in any serious, measured way!"

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), for instance, has now gone beyond the scope of marriage-related issues and has involved itself in opposing California's law detailing the rights of transgender students (AB 1266). NOM is promoting the so-called "Privacy for All Students" coalition, which is working hard to repeal the law.

Rather than working with equality advocates, transgender individuals, and allies to come to a better understanding of the issues facing transgender youth, the coalition's approach as far as I have been able to ascertain from its "FAQ" section is to scare the masses into thinking that maybe thousands of cisgender boys will pretend to be trans so they can stare at girls in locker rooms and play girls volleyball.

NOM even wrote an absurd blogpost called, "Time is Short to Stop the Bullying of Children in School Showers and Bathrooms," warning people that kids are at imminent risk of being bullied by transgender and, I don't know, maybe fake-transgender kids in bathrooms if California's law goes into effect. (I think that people who think that kids will choose to pretend to be trans to get all of the awesome special benefits that trans people get are maybe not super informed about how the real world works!)

I reference NOM's and this coalition's activity today on purpose.

Anti-gay organizations largely oppose same-sex marriage while offering same-sex couples, gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people no viable, realistic, alternative ways to protect ourselves and our families. In their ideal world, we would either assimilate into heterosexual marriage, just not exist, or exist on the margins of society and not utilize the social institutions that are supposedly for the Normal People.

In a similar way, anti-trans advocates seem to implicitly (and, often, explicitly) take a similar approach to trans people.  The "Privacy for All Students" coalition claims to be against bullying of any student, but by showing a general lack of concern for coming up with actual solutions for trans students, my god by even failing to acknowledge that trans kids and adults are at so much greater risk for being bullied and assaulted than cisgender people!, they fail to show any understanding as to how adults implicitly condone and pass on information about who is and isn't an acceptable person to bully and hate.

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