I was asked to answer some questions before volunteering for a panel slot during a discussion on identities and communities. I made notes on it and reproduce it here without much more than editing for basic grammar/readability.
Why is it important for you to share your story?
- My ability to speak up, to be visible and be heard, is not incredibly common in my community. It is getting more-so. I cannot represent everyone, but I can do my best to advocate and ally for my peers.
Why is exposure in storytelling important for the trans community?
- Because there are so many stories and histories to explore. There is no singular narrative or path for all gender diverse folx. Like other human experience, we are enriched by the range.
What are common stereotypes/misconceptions about trans people?
- Many. That we’re all pursuing hormones/surgery. That we’re all binary trans. That we’ve all been abused somehow. That we’re trying to deceive others. That we’re deviants. Those lean toward the negative type.
What are some hardships trans people face?
- Economic scarcity: we can be and often are fired, expelled, evicted, denied healthcare/coverage. In the more extreme cases (which are unfortunately common for our trans femme POC siblings), our lives are taken from us. We face lots of support network and familial rejection. We often have to justify and repeatedly defend our very names and pronouns, the simple verbal signifiers we resonate with.
How can we create more empathy for the trans community?
- Understand that empathy is a muscle. We must put ourselves through the work of admiring/nurturing/exploring our own identities. Then I’d recommend going and volunteering with different community groups, outside your own. Befriend and work alongside trans people, POC, houseless, immigrant/refugee, and so many more types of folx. Be curious… but not invasive.
What are your feelings on the bathroom debate?
- It’s not a debate. I’m tired of it. I was being policed in bathrooms by nosy and rude women when I was a teen, before I knew I was trans. I was “too masculine” as a child and it was humiliating. We all need to use facilities. Our bathrooms at home are fucking gender neutral and it works out fine. Many places have single stall rooms which could easily be made into non-gendered bathrooms. A lot of places have started making “co-ed” options available for families, single parents, etc.
- If you’re worried about predators in the bathroom… all your children are already at risk! Statistically the most likely predator is a cisgender, straight, white “male” and their target is very often a young “male.” Don’t feed me this tired ass “think of the children” litany. Shitany? Shit litany. Stop for a second, examine your phobias, and come back to me with something better than that.
Talk to your advocacy for trans rights:
- I am interested in offering tools for underprivileged folx in the trans and NB communities so we can grow together to build a better world. Our own if necessary. Allies are great and all, but we’re more than capable; my work is connecting socially, offering mutual aid, mentoring future leaders, and providing education to the trans and gender-diverse people directly (and specifically). I don’t do much work in the non-trans communities of late.