Drew Cordes

Hey Gays, Let's Chat ...

Filed By Drew Cordes | April 25, 2014 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: community building, misogyny, RuPaul, RuPaul's Drag Race, trans*, transgender inclusion, transphobia

tear-my-hair-out.jpgHey gays.

Y'know how annoying and frustrating and maddening it is when straight people belittle your struggles for justice? When they use aspects of your life, your love, and your fight as the butt of jokes? When they call you faggots and dykes? When they reduce the entirety of your existence to anal sex or dildos?

When they make wild, weird, and/or horribly stereotyping presumptions about you and your life? When they presume you're not capable of certain things like fixing a car or wearing makeup? When they make really offensive jokes about AIDS like it's no big deal and expect you to laugh because they never stopped for a minute to consider that maybe your friend or your partner might have died from it?

And then when you politely point out and ask, "Hey, those things you're saying actually are really disrespectful and painful. Could you please think about that and refrain in the future?" they get even more pissed off, self-righteous, and nasty. They belittle and mock you even more. They accuse you of violating and hurting them!

They insist, "I'm not homophobic!" They say you're making a mountain out of a molehill. They verbally pummel you and insult for "not being able to take a joke[1]," or "not respecting freedom of speech[2]."

It sucks, right? We've all been there. Makes you want to put your fist through a wall. Believe me, I'm with you.

Now stick with me because here's where I rip off the Band-Aid: This is how the trans* community often feels around you, LGB folks.

The recent RuPaul & Co. fiasco and the ensuing actions directed at Parker Marie Molloy is a pretty great example of how this dynamic often plays out, but this post isn't about that whole mess. All those things I listed above happen all the time. Every day. Everywhere.

What makes it doubly frustrating is that we're always told we're all allies. It's the LGBT community, after all, right? For all of us?

You get this shit from straight people (and trust me, so do we, in spades), but thankfully, you can take solace and find sanctuary in our community. What really sucks is that we can't, because we get it from you, too.

have-some-respect-trans.pngWe get it in our supposedly "safe" spaces, in support groups, in our community centers, in our bars, at Pride, in the middle of a back-room leather orgy. I've personally encountered transphobia and transmisogyny in all these "LGBT community" places (kinda killed the mood at the orgy), and I consider my community well ahead of the curve on trans* inclusion. It happens. Everywhere. A lot. Too much.

I don't have any big finish for this little post. I just wanted to try to get some folks to see what it's like in the shoes of trans* folks in our community, and maybe spur some self-education.

Might I propose that anyone reading this article spends a little time googling trans* 101s, 201s, and whatever other gender and feminist topics catch your eye?

None of us wants to be seen as a bully, but sometimes that takes a little work. Maybe we can start doing that work?


[1] I've never understood this justification. Would you walk up to a group of Jewish people and tell a bunch of Holocaust jokes, or a bunch of slavery jokes to black folks, then say "C'mon, lighten up! It's just a joke!" Yeah, it's a joke... about something horrific those folks never would joke about. Hilarious.

[2] People keep saying "freedom of speech". I do not think it means what they think it means. It's not immunity from the social consequences of being an asshole. It just means the government shouldn't kill you or throw your ass in jail for it.

"Have some respect" image via Greek Gods for Social Justice.

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