You know, I just can’t seem to stop spilling venom at the people who are treating us trans folks like shit.
I used to be nice. I used to carefully and sympathetically educate when it was clear that the person didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. I don’t get mad at people very much. I’m a rational person.
But I’ve been running into a whole rash of people who are just plain inexcusably ugly to us, and I get so enraged I just can’t help but wield my pen as my sword. I can’t hold back any more. I don’t care. Why should I continue letting people think we’re meek little lambs?
Recently, Veronika Fimbres, the incredible trans activist who fought MUMC to get the Trans flag on the Castro flagpole for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, wrote a beautiful article about the significance of flags (linked). You should go read it, it’s beautiful. I’ll be here when you get back.
And then, who should arrive in the comments section but Gilbert Baker, the man who created the Rainbow Flag in 1978! You’d think he’d have something awesome to say about the social progress of trans folks being able to honor our dead once a year with a flag. Instead, he had this to say.
Patrotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. This is Ignorant censorship, never bothering to mention that the rainbow flag was removed so the trans flag could squat on the pole which I put there as a work of art to specifically fly the rainbow flag.
At first, I wasn’t sure what I was reading. I thought maybe some delusional schizophrenic had gotten into someone’s facebook account and was posting word salad about some totally unrelated paranoid fantasy. But when I clicked into his profile, sure enough, it said this.
Gilbert Baker created the Rainbow Flag, symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender movement in June 1978. His work as a vexillographer (flag maker) spans 30 years and includes two world records…
My mind was blown.
I clicked blindly back to the comment section, and faster than I could tell my fingers what to do, this poured out of me like someone had pierced my jugular. I don’t know if I was too mean to be readable, too toxic to be related to, sympathized with or educating in any way, but all I could do was post it. It was just the truth.
Your profile says that you created the flag as a “symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender movement”. How easily can you forget that last word tacked on as a afterthought, that you can call it ignorant censorship when the trans community requests a single day a year to highlight the tragedy of our hundreds upon hundreds of yearly deaths due to senseless hate crimes, poverty, denial of simple health care and unbelievable suicide rates due to societal harassment and torment? Have you looked at the numbers? Have you been listening to us all, or just your favorites?
We didn’t even ask for it to fly on a day of celebration of our community (like the gay community does so freely every day of the year), but on a day of sorrow and mourning, to raise awareness, get people talking, asking questions, instead of just ignoring us or using us as the butts of their jokes the rest of the year.
You consider yourself a champion of the LGBT community, and yet you seem so uneducated on the tragedy of your estranged cousins, so why include the T at all? Have you any idea how comparable our media portrayal in recent years is to the indignity of blackface and sheer parody? Don’t you realize we are one of those last few groups that, for the majority of folks, it’s still okay and PC to say, “I may be this, but at least I’m not one of those dirty transsexuals”? I’ve heard this personally. Did you know last year, a trans woman was dragged out of a public restroom, beaten into a seizure while onlookers jeered, the whole thing was recorded, nobody did a damn thing, and worst of all, when that video made it online to major news sites, a majority of the commenters supported the criminals, posting filth like “That THING deserved it.”
Right here, in San Francisco, where we’re supposed to be the safest in the world, just a few short months ago, I was picked up by an ambulance due to a severe asthmatic episode. The paramedics were so ignorant and uneducated in their sensitivity and diversity training that they treated me with the highest disrespect and verbal harassment, just because I couldn’t talk and they couldn’t immediately tell by looking which gender I was.
My friend, THAT is where we’re at right now. White gay men have had their revolution, they can’t be touched, they have positive portrayal in media, rights, leaders, respect, and unless a person wishes to be totally estranged by their civil PC community, he’d better not voice a negative opinion on them out loud.
We’ve not had our revolution yet, we’re still stuck in the sixties, and nobody but our own cares enough to do a thing about it. So we work tirelessly to educate even those who pretend to ally with us.
And then, people like you come along and have the
to call flying the trans flag…
I have nothing more to say to this, other than you have so, so much research to do on the community you pretend to be a part of before you can shamelessly appropriate the usage of that “T” for the approval of others without feeling like an utter slimeball, and to the disgust of people like myself. If you feel like that’s too much effort, then by all means, just stop including the T, and it’ll be no skin off my back- at least you’ll be making an honest man of yourself. But I invite you to let yourself in to the circle you’ve made. Your move.
I haven’t prayed in years. But please god, please help me to be compassionate and educate in a way that doesn’t turn people off before they get to the second paragraph. I want to reach people, not turn them into enemies. But how can I take the words of the truth and make them nice when the truth is so FUCKING ugly? I can only do so much, I only have so much strength, only so much charisma.
What can we do? What can we really do but just get blindly enraged anymore?
God give me endless tolerance.