Yesterday I left a Facebook group called “Transsexual Liberation” because there was a twit on it who claimed she was going to pull a Fred Phelps and picket her local Day of Remembrance.
This person is a pre-op who has been out for less than a year and is a right wing asshole as well as a homophobe. One thing I have noticed about so many of the people who feel compelled to trash TG people rather than question the cult like nature of the ideology is that they are quite willing to deny the humanity of not only transgender people but to trash post-transsexual women who don’t go along with or meet their peculiar standards.
What really blew me away is this person also regularly engages in red baiting and is generally a real live transsexual Michelle Bachmann. She called me a socialist and I responded by calling her a right wing asshole because I’m not one of those squishy nice pacifist lefties who takes being red baited while hearing the mantra Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dalai Lama in my head. I’m one of those nasty red/black sorts of lefties who verbally fights back.
Leaving aside the politics, there are a hell of a lot of people being treated like their being transgender or transsexual makes them into prey. They are considered worthless people that too few people care about. Therefore criminals who prey upon them are not subjected to the same level of police and court severity that they would be if they had murdered a middle class white woman.
Which brings us to another unpleasant topic: Axis of Oppression.
I noticed many of the trans-women listed were from Honduras. The US government has sponsored repeated right wing coups, juntas and death squads in Honduras. Extremist right wing Catholic organizations have replaced the 1960s “liberation theologians”. Right wing “evangelical” missionaries with their poisonous homophobia have flooded into Latin America. Dire poverty has encouraged the rise of the drug cartels and extremely violent street gangs.
The vast majority of trans-women on these lists are people of color.
Many if not most are sex workers.
Many lack any alternative to sex work or the education to seize that opportunity were it made available to them.
Almost all TS/TG people have had violence done to them from the cradle. Some of us are far more fortunate than others. We have been privileged with white skin, good looks, education and opportunities to avoid the high risk life patterns most but not all of the TS/TG people on this list were forced to live in.
Since the 1960s and 1970s we have seen a concerted effort on the part of the right wing and the religious fanatics to rollback the advances in human rights, social justice and equality that grew out of the 1960s’ movements. They demonized those movements, demonized the activists, ridiculed them as hippies, commies and utopians. They used the media starting with Hollywood renegade cop movies to ratchet up fear so the public would demand ever more brutal police. They cut all the programs that offered people an alternative to the streets. They eliminated low cost housing and put people in the streets.
They escalated the War on Drugs after flooding the ghettos and barrios with cocaine and heroin. They created a Prison Industrial Complex and filled it with people of color.
They crushed opportunity for the already marginalized so that often times the only survival alternative they had were either prostitution or selling drugs.
Video games like Grand theft Auto encouraged violence against sex workers. Violent rap lyrics reduced all women to bitches and ‘hos’ and glorified violence towards the very women they degraded.
We allowed it to be acceptable for men to laugh and joke about how they would kill “faggots dressed as women” who came on to them. A particularly vile lie since it is the men who make these jokes who come to the bars and strolls to buy sex from the TS/TG sex workers.
But society failed to censure that sort of advocacy of violence towards transsexual and transgender sex workers.
Yet we all live in a world where the religious right and thug thinking encourages men to kill us. They use the lie that we deceived them as an excuse even when they come to trans-clubs to pick us up.
After all they are just “Trannie Trash.”
Shit… I even hear that from some of the privileged white “classic transsexuals”, who came out in middle age while keeping their well paying careers and wives.
I looked around this weekend. I checked out a lot of feminist blogs, LGBT/T blogs as well as the left wing blogs and I noticed something. Those folks care and most of them are neither transsexual nor transgender.
I’d wager that more folks in the Occupy Movement care than in the Republican Party.
That is because empathy is a left wing trait. Harshness and cruelty are right wing traits.
When I was little kid, a boy named Emmett Till was mutilated and lynched. The story of his lynching outraged decent people everywhere. Just as good people of all races stood with the Black Civil rights Movement against the conservative racism and evil of Jim Crow.
Today conservatives have resurrected Jim Crow with their efforts to deny the poor the right to vote.
I have been thrilled by the rise of the Occupy Movement and heartened by LGBT/T involvement in that movement. Progressive people have been isolated for way too long in the ghettos of identity politics, where we are often tiny minorities within slightly larger minorities. It is time to resurrect the spirit of the 1960s when we were all in this together and were all fighting to build a better world.
To do that we will have to free our empathy, open our hearts to compassion for other who are not identical to ourselves. Listen to their need just as we would like them to listen to ours.
We need to put aside the John Galt mentality of “I’m number one and that’s who I am looking out for!” It has become obvious that the one who dies with the most toys is still dead and has won nothing. Perhaps making the world a better place for others is a better goal than amassing a mountain of crap no matter how bright and shiny or expensive that crap is.
Friday night I put up a video of Joan Baez singing “There but for Fortune”, a Phil Ochs’ song. One doesn’t have to be a transgender sex worker living on the streets to have empathy for that person. All one has to do is acknowledge the privilege that comes with birth, white skin privilege, class privilege, education privilege and find that spark of humanity in your heart, that drop of empathy that says, “There but for Fortune go you or I.”