A respected (by me, at least) site on Facebook had a guest blogger write a post on how, in the wake of the media furor I confess I haven’t watched, allies are, in their ignorance of transgender issues, creating more of a problem than helping.
A very nice way to phrase it, I thought, while insulting allies in the process. Well done.
It should be pretty obvious how I feel about the LGBT community after all my posts on the subject. I’m not even going to say anything about that. But I would like to say a few things.
Being a woman in many countries in the world isn’t a cakewalk either. We happen to be born that way too. Get over it. In many of the same countries now receiving attention for their treatment of gay couples, it has been absolutely fine to drag a woman out of her house, rape her, and set her on fire, or however else her husband wants to kill her. Legally. It could have just been because she looked at him wrong. She looked at another man. She spilled something. That’s been going on for centuries–longer. It’s so commonplace it doesn’t even make the news.
I already wrote about what’s happening in this country with women’s rights. I thought I had written everything I had to say in my last post. I guess I hadn’t. I wasn’t being told I was doing things wrong at that point. Or, at least, I hadn’t read the post.
This isn’t meant to be hateful–I am truly angry. I am angry at the self-righteousness of some people in the LGBT community who seem to feel they are better than everyone else. I had a conversation, online, about this once with someone who may or may not have been real (long story, but he was representing himself as a gay man). I said, “Don’t you think pride might get in the way a little bit when it comes to equality? Which is more important? It’s not like you have to demean yourself, just don’t put everyone else beneath you, because that isn’t equality at all.” He just said he was better than everyone else. Better than those of us (me) who practiced abnormal sex and didn’t understand anything. Okaaaay.
Now, given that he was someone who may or may not exist, I’ll take that with a few cups of salt. I see nothing wrong with having a sense of pride in community, and I think that there is a distinct gay community that I certainly wouldn’t want to see destroyed. A man commented recently on Facebook how he thought the “g” on gay should be capitalized (I’m assuming the same would go for the “l” in lesbian, etc.) because it was a community. I thought about that, and before I could reply with what I was thinking, someone else did (all the replies up to that point had been negative). The man who replied commented that it would be sort of akin to how the Deaf community capitalizes the “D.” The people who consider themselves part of their distinct culture capitalize it. The ones who don’t, simply don’t capitalize deaf. There’s division there as well.
The problem occurs when a community starts to act superior. I think the slogan, “Born this way,” is awesome. It states a fact and leaves no room for argument. On the other hand, “Get Over It,” in my mind, takes a completely different tack which I find offensive. Think about all the other contexts that has been used in, even if unspoken. So you’ve been raped. Get over it. Your husband beats you. Get over it. Your husband left you for a younger woman. Get over it. Your wife left you for another woman. Get over it. Is this starting to make sense? As a society, this country isn’t very sympathetic or empathetic. I really don’t know how “Get over it” is supposed to be taken. But that’s the way I see it, and if I see it that way, and am of the mind it doesn’t matter a whit who people love, have relationships with, or marry, then how do people who don’t feel that way see it? I don’t think it makes them feel any more kindly toward the LGBT community. I think it’s going to alienate them further. The people who will think it’s the most clever are the people in the community themselves, in my opinion. It doesn’t matter which well-respected actor you have wearing the shirt proclaiming the slogan. I love the actor, really don’t like the shirt.
I’m also not a religious person, as people who are familiar with me know. But there’s a reason there’s the statement, “Pride cometh before a fall.” Hubris is one of the nastiest characteristics a person can have, I think. Who truly wants to spend any length of time in a room with someone radiating that emotion?
The other thing that I dislike is being accused of being an ignorant ally for the Trans* population when I have a few questions about that myself. Some of this is guessing and trying to fit pieces together, and some is from things I have read from blogs of people I trust. I’m not repeating those, I’m explaining how I’ve come to this question. I would like to know, truly, if the LGBT community is as split as I have heard. That if you are gay or lesbian, you tend to be toward the top of the group, if you’re Trans* you tend to fall more in the middle and are possibly sometimes looked down on along with those who are bi–I know at least in literature and possibly real life people who identify as bi are vilified at times for being the “cheaters” and the ones you can’t trust because they “haven’t made their mind up?” Well, I think they have made their mind up; they are sexually oriented toward men and women. I also think they are capable of being in a monogamous, faithful relationship with a person of either sex during the time they are with that person. Why is that so hard to understand? I think it’s all a matter of personality. I’m sure there are as many gay or lesbian jerks as bi jerks, people who are bi might just make easier targets. And, as I didn’t point out very well, there are not so nice people everywhere. That’s part of equality too. No one has the corner on the market for being a jerk. It’s an equal opportunity occupation.
From what I’ve noticed, and I’m going into a bit of a news hibernation state from overload–it seems there is so much hatred aimed at the Trans* community right now, especially the youth. It makes me so…gods, sad. I don’t have the exact details in front of me right now. I hadn’t heard about the eleven year-0ld boy who tried to kill himself because of being bullied because he liked My Little Pony, and who is in a coma and may have sustained severe brain damage. I had never heard of bronys–there is a whole, huge world of which I am completely oblivious. (Returning to the gay community, then there was the high school senior who came out on Facebook and started to receive the oh-so-brave anonymous death threats, and then the 8th grader who came out and had his driveway graffitied.) The confusion and frustration of being born in a body you know you don’t belong in, one older Trans* woman told me, transitioning from male to female, was almost intolerable at times. And she’d been going through the process for, I think she said, nearly thirteen years because she didn’t have a lot of money and it was an expensive process, so she could only do it a bit at a time. She hated being in a body that was the wrong one.
And the thought that I keep having, after reading about those three boys, and thinking about a boy who killed himself a school-district not too far away from here who wrote two or three times in his suicide note, “It wasn’t bullies,” so the police ruled out bullies. Hello? If the kid’s written three times it wasn’t bullies, I’m guessing it probably was? Or maybe that’s just my overactive imagination. I really like the “it gets better” concept, and I think the support it has gotten, all the people who have made videos–it’s all just amazing. Gods, I even use it for myself sometimes when things really get screwed up. A while ago I read someone’s blog who was bullied all through school, then at work, once she went through college (which was okay) and started this particular job, one woman made her life a living hell. You think these things stop, that grown ups don’t do those sorts of things. Unfortunately, I identify with her, although my situation wasn’t nearly as bad. There are adult bullies. That wasn’t quite the point, but I started thinking about these three, well, four boys, and it’s so hard to tell them, “It will get better,” because I’m starting to wonder on some days. I try to stay positive, still tell them that. It really does get better.
I’m starting to think there should be other options, though. That maybe fighting the bullies in schools isn’t working. It didn’t work for that little eleven year old. Surely someone noticed what was happening, yet no one did anything about it. I’m sure that’s the case in much of what happens in these bullying cases. And are these kids really learning not to be bullies, or how to be better bullies? I’ve started to think, give the kids who are being a bullied a choice; give them somewhere else to go, another school with other victims of kids who have been bullied. What would happen? Would they finally get to be themselves? Would they make friends with the same interests? “But will it prepare them for the real world?” I can see administrators asking. Right. That’s what the bullies are doing, preparing them for the real world, because the kids they bully are different and they’re going to have to deal with bullying for the rest of their lives. My answer to those administrators? “It will keep them alive to give them a chance to face the “real” world, which this certainly isn’t. Because you’re failing in your job here.” There will always be bullies, but it’s a little different when you’re not stuck in the same physical space with them. Then, life really will get better.
Having a choice isn’t cowardice. If our kids are old enough to kill themselves because they can’t get out of a situation they are forced by law to be in, then we owe them a legal alternative of a safer place to be. That’s equality. That’s justice. They deserve the right to go to school unafraid, and that’s diversity, unity, love, and equality, for children who are LGBT, a little different, for kids who just don’t fit in. It doesn’t have to get better. It can be better now. Until school administrators take bullying as seriously as the parents sitting by the bedside of their little boy, Michael, waiting for him to wake up, if he wakes up, to see how much of him is still there (be stubborn, little one–your brain is a miracle in itself), children deserve better.
And so do allies. This one is taking a break for a while. I don’t need to feel appreciated. I don’t need to feel cared about. I also don’t need to be called ignorant.