By Sabrina Samone, TMP
Transphobia, (or less commonly trans-prejudice, trans-misogyny, referring to transphobia directed toward trans women and trans-misandry, referring to transphobia directed toward trans men), is the description you’ll find on Wikipedia, but to many Transgender individuals, it’s the outright disrespect of one’s person. A blatant disregard to a fellow human beings right to be, live or exist. Minority groups such as; African-Latino-Asia-Jewish Americans-Muslims-Christians and women that know what it’s like to be hated for whom they are could only, If they’d manage to muster an ounce of sympathetic understanding to what that feels like, would call it hate. Its hate that raped tortured and then sought out Brandon Teena and murdered him. It’s hate that sought out 21 year old Islan Nettles, a young trans-woman in Harlem, who was attending school and aspiring to have a normal life in an area known as a black Mecca for equality and achievement for decades, because she was ‘different’.
According to Salon’s resent article states; The Last acceptable bigotry in America, with in the first 24 hours after California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly announced he would be pulling his child out of public schools in response to a new law guaranteeing transgender students the right to safely use the bathroom, Islan Nettles was brutally beaten outside a police precinct. On Aug. 27, while hundreds of mourners prepared to gather for a vigil in Nettles honor, “Fox and Friends” opened a segment on Manning with Aerosmith’s “Dude looks like a lady.”
These are not unrelated events. Our culture’s ignorance about transgender rights isn’t just a matter of semantics, media bluster or political fault lines; popular narratives that dehumanize the lives and experiences of Trans-people take a heavy human toll and come with a body count.
What do these things cause in my life you may ask?
The sun has just gone down and I rushed to get my evening walk in to continue my positive progress on my newest diet. I stop in the kitchen, briefly debating in my head for a second, do I bring a box cutter with me as I begin my walk in one of the safest neighborhoods in a twenty mile radius. I declined to carry a weapon. I like to pride myself on being a very smart, fast reflex type of gal and if I’m terrified on the inside, there’s not a man that would ever know that. The muggy humid Charleston air immediately dampens my skin, my head is held high I will not be afraid. Beginning my journey I had to think for a second; why is it that I must be afraid to enter the dark as a woman or as a Trans-woman? I’m not oblivious to what it means to be a curvaceous, racially ambiguous mulatto female with ample bosoms in the south, and the fantasies that arises in the mind of men of all races, but why should that make me scared to leave my home? This is supposed to be my corner of the world, my oasis, my damn American dream. Why must I be afraid of the dark?
Every person that passes, one eye is always upon them. Teenagers approach and I’m relieved to see that they are obvious young gay men. These are feelings that pop in your head when you are a woman in America, a woman with a secret that must not be revealed unwillingly by anyone but her. The feelings aren’t new. I knew them all my life. I didn’t need classes in how to walk like a woman; I walked as a woman at five. I didn’t need classes to learn how to apply makeup, I had make up sessions with high school girlfriends at 13, I didn’t need an SRS to be considered a woman, there was never a person I met that didn’t think I hadn’t already had, if they had known at all. I don’t need to be reminded that I’m ‘just a girl’, that should be afraid of everything in this world; I grew up being afraid in this world. They say I should never walk alone after dark, there’s not a man that’s ever been in my life that would have allowed me too, but why must I adhere to a man’s direction from every corner of my life, even from stepping outside of my own home. Everyone knows that and everyone’s man knows; a woman has to have an extra eye open after dark and would not welcome her to do so, but why? I’m reaching the corner to my street now. I have made it another night as one, alone woman in the world after dark. As I approach the corner, a horn blows, a man whistles. I have been noticed by the enemy. Not only do I have to fear men, as a woman, but what those men my reveal from my nature as a trans-woman. I enter my home, relieved that I didn’t cower in my home just because it was dark as I quickly set my alarm to ensure I will remain safe. As I flipped on the TV, there is fox news with another story of Chelsea Manning, connecting transgender and traitor in the same line to continue to imply their info to their bubble gum masses. I could have been a victim to their rhetoric of transphobic hate. Someone could have heard and responded with the intended hate they implied, left their home, suspected and this post would have never been heard, but why are you letting this persist, why are we not demanding the change necessary from these so called news outlets to deliver news and not their personal bigotries? Why do we let this continue? It’s time Fox news and other Transphobic media be held personally responsible for hate crimes against Transgender people, due to their hate filled propaganda.
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