Fighting Discrimination From Within

Photo by Mercedes MehlingUnsplash

A gender non-conforming member of the Trans community addresses the pain of hatred from within her own social circle.

We’ve all faced some level of prejudice in our lives, be it for the color of our skin, the entity we do (or do not) pray to, our weight, our taste in clothes, our sexual orientation, and even our gender. Being hated for something so simple, that we don’t even have any control over, has got to be one of the most perplexing and even most painful situations that we could find ourselves in, especially, when that hatred comes from somebody that has already been a part of your social circle.

The LGBTQ+ community is one that many view as being a giant family. We are all in this battle together, trying to just be ourselves, love who we love, and fit in with the rest of the world. We should be lifting each other up, supporting our brothers and sisters, and waving our pride flags in unison. While this doesn’t seem like such a hard concept on its own, for some reason, there seems to be turmoil around every corner; and for some reason, oftentimes, there seems to be a sort of civil war growing from deep within our population.

"IT SEEMS, TO MOST OF THE LESBIAN, GAY AND BISEXUAL COMMUNITY, THAT THE TRANSGENDER, INTERSEX, AND OTHERS ARE EASILY FORGOTTEN."

I recently saw a post online that really hit the proverbial nail on the head; it was a cartoon that showed a deep trench, atop of which, the letters L, G & B stood proudly, exclaiming their excitement that they escaped. However, deep within the bowels of this hole, were the lonely letters T & I, begging for help and trying to remind their so-called friends, that they were still trapped. It seems, to most of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual community, that the Transgender, Intersex, and others are easily forgotten. No matter where our sexual orientation falls, our fight for acceptance matters slightly less. But why? The only thing that sets us apart from LGB is that we are questioning not who we want to be with, but who we are ourselves. I’m most certainly not trying to speculate that the majority of gay and lesbian individuals are transphobic, but I think some have a tendency to forget that we are struggling and fighting for our existence just as hard as they are.

I would also like to address the continued issues that bisexuals face within their own community, easily ignored as part of the group for no other reason than their attraction towards more than one gender, it has become an increased issue to hear people disassociate bisexual individuals as part of the queer community because they have given themselves “too many options.” I think this is absolutely ridiculous and again, don’t understand why any member of a community would be cast out from a group. To me, this is like a biracial individual being told that they are not part of a specific group because one of their parents is Caucasian. It just makes no sense to me, and I would hope that it makes no sense to anybody else.

Photo by Peter HersheyUnsplash

What truly saddens me even more is the few times that I have seen severe transphobia coming from other members of the transgender community. I have witnessed this a few times, most specifically in criticism of those members who do not fall into either side of the gender binary. It is important to remember that not everybody conforms to the black or white, two sided aspect of the world. Much like how bisexual individuals are deemed to have “too many options,” some members of the Transgender community are ostracized for not just “choosing a gender.”

"A GOOD FRIEND ONCE TOLD ME THAT THERE IS NO 'WRONG WAY' TO BE TRANSGENDER."

A good friend once told me that there is no “wrong way” to be transgender. It is perfectly acceptable to choose to go however far into transition as you feel is necessary (it’s also fine to not transition at all). Some may feel that expressing their authentic selves through their choice of clothing is enough and they don’t need hormones or surgeries in order to feel complete. Other’s might choose to take hormones in order to acquire a physical appearance that more closely resembles how they feel deep down, but still dress in the manner of their assigned birth.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my own internal conflict with finding my identity. I had realized that while I wanted to transition and take feminine hormones, I still enjoy aspects of my masculinity, such as wearing a men’s suit and tie when I go to work. Does that make me any less a member of the transgender community? I say absolutely not. I am who I am, will dress how I feel appropriate for that time, and there is nothing anybody can say or do to change my mind or alter my perception of my identity. Is it weird that over a year into my transgender awakening, I have only appeared in front of my friends as Crystal on two occasions? Maybe it is, but honestly, who cares?

Bigotry comes in all shapes and sizes and sadly, from every direction. There is no one way to address these negative feelings, but in the end, it’s up to each and every one of us to choose the most diplomatic way of fighting back and defending our rights to live our authentic lives in the manner that we see fit.

Comments
No. 1-1
MelissaD
MelissaD

The Mattachine Society (founded 1950) had a message of "we are just like you". Unfortunately the T and the rest of the alphabet does not really fit this message. In 1973 Sylvia Rivera (Stonewall) at the Gay Liberation Rally (NYC) warned of leaving the T behind and the removal of colored people from the message. Video exists online. We were left behind for "marriage". We still don't fit the "approved sound bite".