Neither a Punchline or a God
“Dude, did you ever see it? Look up the trailer!” said one of my friends to me. It was a late afternoon, and we had been hanging out at a local cafe. What he was referring to was an animation series called, “Gen Zed.” In truth, I’d heard the name once or twice in passing, but had no clue to what it actually was. Curious, I looked it up.
It was a mess of unfunny millennial stereotypes, to say the least. But the most noticeable thing was the over-patronization of a transgender woman- the only scene from the trailer to really stick with me was when the trans woman came out to her friend, and her friend began this ridiculous, “Oh that’s so brave!” speech. The video was not even three minutes long, but I had to pause it halfway through and think, “Why was this so well known?”
“WITH SO MANY TALENTED FOLKS OUT THERE WE ONLY SEE/HEAR ABOUT THE FEW PUBLICATIONS THAT ARE ‘RUBBING YOUR IDENTITY IN THEIR FACE’ WITHOUT A REAL POINT.”
The answer (which I already knew and could feel burning in my stomach), was that it’s because it continues to make us an all-are-the-same joke to the world. Recently, I’d been thinking about things like music, comics, and artwork made by or for transgender, non-binary, and GNC people. With so many talented folks out there we only see/hear about the few publications that are “rubbing your identity in their face” without a real point.
The way I see it, the larger part of the world, particularly in any visual form of representation, sees transgender, non-binary and GNC people in one of two ways: number one is that we’re all hyper-sensitive, my-gender-is-the-only-thing-about-me type of people who are easily “triggered” by anyone saying the slightest thing out of line. (One thing that comes to mind that I’d like to especially point out, is the post that’s been making its rounds mentioning how the “did you just assume my gender?” phrase is not something said by trans people at all. That phrase came about because of people who see us in this light.)
But there’s also number two: the idea that we’re people who should be put on a pedestal for being so “unique” and “special,” simply because we defy the assumptions of our identity based on our sexual organs; that we’re fragile beings that you need to praise constantly and walk on eggshells when talking to us.
“..THE FACT THAT EVERY LAST ONE OF US IS SO SEVERELY BELIEVED TO BE STRONGLY ONE OR THE OTHER HAS BEEN DRIVING ME INSANE!”
Now, that’s not to say there isn’t an amount of bravery required to come out and live as your true self, or that there’s not some trans people who obsessively and nastily police other people instead of actually educating someone, but the fact that every last one of us is so severely believed to be strongly one or the other has been driving me insane! There’s also the fact that though we have brilliant and strong minds in the transgender community who would be awesome representations, the world loves to laugh at the stupidity of Caitlyn Jenner. With a plethora of “YouTubers” going through transition or just living as their true selves, everyone just knows the names of those that stir up needless controversy and ultimately become bad jokes. Just the same, though we have talented people on all platforms of art, the well-known ones are the things you’d see on a “cringe” page or YouTube channel.
I’ve mentioned this in my article about the sensationalizing of gender identity in a situation where it doesn’t need to be mentioned, but at the end of the day, we’re only people! Our differences are that we may go by different pronouns than what you’d expect when the cashier greets us when we’re buying a snack, or we have to be sure to bring our hormones when heading on vacation, or what’s under our clothes is different from what one is taught to expect. When you put things in that perspective, it seems rather silly that we’re so targeted over things like that. However, we are targeted because of those differences, and miseducation and not being taken seriously can contribute highly to that. We need to push for representation that doesn’t patronize us or make us a joke, but rather show that we’re people with struggles of our own.