I’m deeply disturbed by the sheer amount of hate fear that our white house (p)Resident has been circulating. Since the most recent tweet to rescind progress and stomp on the spirit of constitutional rights, I have been seeing tweets, Facebook messages, emails, memes and blogs fly regarding the fear that Transgender people are feeling from the attacks on their rights to be contributing members of society while being open about their identity. It breaks my heart to see people whom I know and love to be afraid of what will be next in terms of their rights to exist without fear of discrimination, assault, or the emotional abuse that society seems to be dishing out in spades as of late.
Those of you who know me personally know that I am queer, having had relationships with men, women, and people across the gender spectrum. I also have 6 people near and dear to me, three of whom are US military veterans, and several more acquaintances, who are transgender. You probably don’t know that I have been working through my own gender-identity issues. You also probably know that I am a pacifist, but I understand the desire for people to serve their country and feel that a person should have the right to serve their fellow humans in any way they choose. So these policies directly affect me and they affect my loved ones. Even those who are straight, conservative and pro-military are affected by such policies, regardless of whether or not they can relate to the latest group of scapegoats.
As humans, we have the choice to be heartless and cruel, or loving and compassionate. I’m grateful to see as much support as I have been seeing from my own social media bubbles, but many people in my own family and life are supporters of such “policies”, without ever taking a look at what is behind them. I’m well aware of the psychology behind such thinking, and I know that I most likely can’t change their minds. But I do know that I cannot forgive their choice to remain ignorant or to speak and act through hate. I don’t take such behavior personally, but that doesn’t remove the fear that my rights could well be the next on the chopping block in such a society. What most of the people who support these things don’t realize as that their rights are, or will be, on the chopping block as well if this backward trajectory is allowed to continue.
Other peripheral issues come to mind as well. I find myself asking such questions as “how did we get to the point that any of the viciousness we’re seeing on social media, so-called reality TV, and in our government become mainstream?” and “how would you feel if it were your child, spouse, sibling, or parent who fit the description of the latest political scapegoat ?”. Seriously, I am ashamed to call myself American when I think of the lows to which our society has recently stooped after over half a century of fighting for social justice.
So how can we support our Transgender community? Have conversations with people you know. Learn about LGBT history. Listen to the experience that Transgender people have regarding their fight to exist in today’s society with the levels of violence they encounter and the history of exclusion from the LGB community. Go to a local meeting or event with LGBTQ allies such as your local Pride center, Gender Health Center, or other organizations such as Gay-Straight Alliance in schools or PFLAG (notice these are not Trans-specific organizations, but many smaller communities have only these groups, if any, available).
We are living in dangerous times, and we have a responsibility toward each other to stand up for and protect ALL members of our society; otherwise, we have no right to enjoy the rights and privileges which we demand for ourselves.