i’ve been to several rallies and protests over the past few weeks, and at many of these events speakers will do the thing where they list the various systems of oppression that we are up against in order to rally folks against them.
now, first off, doing this thing is crucial, but also always sort of frustrating. these lists are never and will never be exhaustive or wholly inclusive; someone is always left out. and, there’s something odd about segmenting out each of these systems of oppression that are so deeply interwoven and overlapping with one another. language is sometimes more limiting than helpful.
that said, when we do this thing, i am finding that often gay people and homophobia are mentioned explicitly while trans people and transphobia, trans women and transmisogyny rarely are.
so what i need folks to realize is that, while trans folks are allied with LGBQ+ folks (at least in theory) and while many of us are also LGBQ+, we face distinct forms of discrimination, distinct micro aggressions, and distinct formations of hatred and institutional violence.
we are being explicitly targeted over and above the anti-LGBTQ discrimination that is also being put into place. and, the majority of that targeting is intended to make the world an even more hostile place for trans women.
and, i think people are under the impression that if you say you support gay people or you’re against homophobia that you’ve also made a statement for trans people. but, you haven’t.
transmisogyny. must. be. named.
transphobia. must. be. named.
when i go to a rally like the one in washington square park this evening, i always find myself doing this same thought experiment. when shit goes even further south for trans people than it already has, how many of these people will show up for us?
and, tonight i thought in turn about the trans flag that flew over the #nodapl protest the night before. i thought about the intersections of trans life with the lives of so many other communities. i thought about our long history of empathy, of grit, of resistance, and of resolve in the face of myriad forms of oppression.