Whatever Happened to the Transgender Tipping Point?

From The Daily Beast:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/31/whatever-happened-to-the-transgender-tipping-point.html

After the optimism of 2014—the ‘Transgender Tipping Point’ as decreed by Time magazine—trans people are facing an onslaught of legislative prejudice.

Samantha Allen
03.31.17

In 2014, Time magazine announced “The Transgender Tipping Point.”

Laverne Cox adorned the cover in a blue dress.

The author of the cover story, Katy Steinmetz, declared that “another civil rights movement is poised to challenge long-held cultural norms and beliefs,” chalking up the emergence of “new policies” to the “new transparency” that transgender people were exhibiting after “emerging from the margins to fight for an equal place in society.”

The narrative was clear: Transgender visibility was good. It could change the country. And although Steinmetz herself was careful to qualify that the “transgender revolution still has a long way to go,” Time’s headline made it seem like a critical threshold had been crossed. Progress is linear, it supposed, and there is no going back.

That narrative—I am sad to say on March 31, the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV)—is wrong.

In 2017, the White House rolled back federal guidance protecting transgender students, effectively scuttling a potentially precedent-setting Supreme Court case in the process.

There have already been at least seven reported murders of transgender people in the United States, placing it on track to be one of the most violent years on record.

And even after North Carolina reached a controversial legislative “compromise” yesterday over its “bathroom bill” under pressure from the NCAA, some Texas legislators are trying to pass a bill similar to HB2 this year.

If 2014 ever could have been described as a “Transgender Tipping Point,” we might say that we’re now in the “Transgender Dipping Point”—a moment when, despite increases in media representation, the sort of tangible progress that felt within our grasp a few years ago may now have been delayed well into the next decade or beyond.

Wherever you look, transgender people may be more visible but they are still facing the same problems in 2017 as they were in 2014.

They are still being denied life-saving health care, discriminated against at work, and harassed in public. Transgender athletes are still being stigmatized for daring to participate in sports. Cisgender actors are still being cast in transgender parts.

All the while, anti-LGBT groups have been doubling down on transphobia, fundraising around bathroom laws now that the same-sex marriage decision seems all but irreversible.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/31/whatever-happened-to-the-transgender-tipping-point.html

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The dark side of “visibility”: How we slept on trans people becoming the new scapegoats of the right

The Taliban Christian Right have decided transfolks are the perfect scapegoats.  There are some frightening parallels between their behavior and the behavior of the Nazi when they first came to power.  If you are out and or obvious you might want to consider relocating to some place safer than certain states.  It isn’t cowardly to put personal safety first.

The following was published a year ago.  It is truer today than ever.

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2016/03/30/the_dark_side_of_visibility_how_we_slept_on_trans_people_becoming_the_new_scapegoats_of_the_right/

The “transgender tipping point” was a welcome milestone—it’s also made trans adults and youth more visible targets


Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016

I was happy to hear about the International Trans Day of Visibility two years ago. I agreed with the sentiment that the Transgender Day of Remembrance in November being the only trans holiday was morbid and depressing and that celebrating happy, healthy trans lives was a positive goal. I was happy to be one of many allies pushing awareness of March 31 as a “day of visibility” last year.

Which is why I was surprised when one of my close friends, who is trans and who hadn’t heard of the holiday, responded with a scowl when I told her about it.

“My goal isn’t visibility, my goal is survival,” she said. “The Jews were extremely visible in 1930s Europe, how much good did it do them?”

Since then I’ve been thinking about the relative shallowness of “visibility” as a goal in and of itself, especially since the past two years have been one long performative celebration of trans visibility.

Caitlyn Jenner became a magazine cover girl in the name of “visibility” and has continued to do highly visible things like entering a golf tournament, blogging about her love life, starring in a reality show and speaking out in defense of Ted Cruz. We’ve had a streaming show about trans issues win a Golden Globe, we’ve had a feature film about trans issues nominated for Oscars (winning one for Best Supporting Actress). Ever since Time ran its famous May 2014 cover of Laverne Cox with the optimistic title “The Transgender Tipping Point,” everything’s been looking up for trans people, right?

Well, no.

The progression from visibility to tolerance to acceptance within the LGBT coalition has infamously been uneven between the LGB side and the T side. If one were to try to make a parallel (an extremely imperfect one) with Time’s “Transgender Tipping Point” with Laverne Cox and an earlier moment in queer history, it’d probably be something like Ellen DeGeneres and her character both coming out on Ellen in 1997 (a moment pivotal enough that there’s a website named for it).

Did the dramatic moment of a well known entertainer proudly coming out as gay on TV, with widespread support from the media and the industry, end the oppressive invisibility of gay people? Did it, as Dan Savage put it, get better?

Sure, absolutely, in the long run. But then I tend to agree with Martin Luther King that given a long enough run, yes, things get better–but what happens while we’re waiting for that long run is a much more complicated story.

Ellen coming out on TV came after a run of 1990s media garnering attention and box office dollars out of promoting “visibility” of the gay community to Middle America–whether it be dark, tragic takes on the AIDS crisis or cutesy introductions to the culture of drag and camp. There was a vanguard among the (still mostly straight) cultural elite convinced the “gay tipping point” was coming, after the bloody battles fought by ACT UP in the previous generation and at Stonewall in the generation before that.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2016/03/30/the_dark_side_of_visibility_how_we_slept_on_trans_people_becoming_the_new_scapegoats_of_the_right/

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