Recently a client told me a story of them walking in a grocery store and being approached by a random woman who simply stated, “Why don’t you just be the (gender) you were born to be?” My client is trans.
My client is good natured and did not respond, just smiled and wished them a nice day and walked away. They relayed it to me with good humor and no malice. “They were older, they were of a different generation,” all the excuses they could give for that woman they did.
But it rubbed me wrong. I am very protective of my Queer clients and frankly it pissed me off. I’m sick of the excuses allowed for people who are homophobic and transphobic. Just because you are of a “different generation” does not provide allowances for being hateful and discriminatory.
I come back to my Nana. She was 90! She accepted her two gay granddaughters and our kids. She accepted her Queer niece without question. She was born in the 1920’s and she was clearly of a different generation. But she loved her family and would not do anything to hurt us.
“Yes but she was so lovely and kind,” I can hear it now…the excuses. Why my Nana could be accepting and tolerant and others can’t be. I don’t want to hear it. I’m sick of hearing it. I’m sick of the hate being excusable based on your age, religion, or ethnicity.
There are no acceptable excuses for homophobia and transphobia. None. Not one.
I’m part of a lesbian moms group and a frequent topic of conversation is “What do you say when some one asks you about how you had your kids?” or “How do you respond when some one asks ‘who is the real mom'”? People generally are kind in these responses. I am less so. I am sick of being kind in the face of ignorance and malice.
As a minority do you have any idea how exhausting it is to be the one to take the high road? But then if we respond with any type of anger or sarcasm we are “bitchy or PMS-ing or giving lesbians a bad name” or whatever.
I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing story after story of people being fired from their jobs for being Queer (YES it happens and is legal in most states). I’m tired of feeling like I should be kind when people ask me intimate questions about how my kids were conceived. Because honestly what happened with my vagina, cervix and uterus is none of your business.
I’m tired of trying to engage conservative websites and pages by asking questions in a non-confrontational and non-insulting way (but bringing to the surface hatred and discrimination) and instead of having a dialogue with me being blocked. How can we create change if the conservative right won’t even have a dialogue with an individual on the left? I don’t understand! They call us snowflakes yet they cannot even bother to answer my questions. They just block me. To date roughly ten facebook pages and blog pages have blocked me. After not once answering my questions. But I’m the snowflake. Eyeroll.
I’m tired of hearing about the homophobic administration and all their bullshit.
What keeps me going? The Queer youth. The trans kids I meet who are brave enough to transition in this awful climate of transphobia where WE are DYING. Suicide and Homicide are taking us. Yet my trans clients persist. They wake up and face each day with an inner strength and fortitude that I am consistently awed by.
The Queer youth who are gay and lesbians and bisexual who fear coming out to their parents and friends but who do it anyway because they are not snowflakes. They are the strongest people I know.
I’m tired yet I persist because the Queer community persists. Because even in the darkest of times all you need to do is turn on the light. (Albus Dumbledore)
If you are old it’s not an excuse. If you are young it’s not an excuse. If you are religious it’s not an excuse. There is no excuse for discrimination, intolerance, and hatred. Cowards hide behind age and religion. True strength lies in every Queer youth waking up to live another day in this state of adversity. Rock on.
And to the old lady in the grocery store. Come see me. I’m happy to explain why they are not the gender they were “born” to be with a full bibliography of references. Also: stop going up to random people you don’t know and feel it’s okay to make statements and judgments to them about their gender identity or sexual orientation. It’s not nice, it’s wrong on many levels, and could be considered harassment which is illegal. Just stop.
Otherwise I feel it may be my duty to start going up to random old women making transphobic statements asking “Why are you not being the kind loving person you were born to be?”
4 thoughts on “Transphobia and Homophobia and Excuses.”
You are far too kind in your hypothetical reply. I’d say “Why are you not minding your own business like you were born to do”.
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Trying to go high when they go low!
I love your post. Reminds me of when one of our cousin’s on hubby’s side transitioned – her old Indian grandmother hugged her and said ‘I am so happy that now you are happy.’ Then grandmother said to her own daughter ‘now you have the son you always wanted.’
I don’t care much for ignorant people! Caz
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As an ally who advocates for queer students I am just so sick of the ugly bullshit people have to deal with. This is a great post, I just have this overwhelming urge to tell people to grow the F#$* up, but I don’t. Just astounded at the insensitive stupidity of people. On the bright side, I have seen some progress in acceptance in my work place but it is an ongoing struggle. Always trying to go high when they go low is the right line to take but it does get exhausting.
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