char – inside

All the trans news that fits! (and some that never will)

Visibility: A Life and Death Choice

The suggestion that trans people should stay out of the locker rooms and restrooms that agree with their gender identity if they are concerned for their safety is a point well made, because that is exactly what the vast majority of trans people do. It is a tremendous inconvenience at times, and it is one that non-trans people never have to worry about. But, for us, it is a choice between visibility and invisibility, and every trans woman knows that the difference between visibility and invisibility too often means the difference between life and death.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that trans women put their lives in danger by running into locker rooms and restrooms and announcing their presence. If I am at a club or any other public gathering space and I have that sinking feeling that the women’s restroom could spell danger, especially when that danger is physical harm, I will leave. What I am saying is this: the argument that trans women should just stay out of locker rooms and restrooms altogether is one that is specious, at best, and this post explains why.

I am comfortable using the women’s locker room and restroom, and most of the non-trans women I encounter have no problem with me or other trans women. However, when one or two people do have trouble respecting my identity or the identity of a trans woman, the one who is asked to leave is always the trans woman. Personally, I don’t feel like fighting my way through a bunch of transphobic TERFs and redneck dudes in a club or anywhere else, and I sure as heck am not going to go into the men’s room for the very same reason.

I want to live!

What I am talking about is how all this plays itself out in the media. Why is it always the case that the media tells the story from the angle of the those who refuse to share space with us, but nothing is said about our legal right to use facilities that agree with our gender identity? Why are we always expected to accommodate the prejudices of others? And, when we are made to feel that we cannot use a facility, why are we always portrayed as the perpetrator and the suspect, while the people who would deny us our rights are portrayed as the victims? Why does the discussion always turn to whether or not we are pretty or whether or not we “pass” as women?

All of those questions speak to the very essence of discrimination, don’t they?

At a time when more than 40 percent of transgender people will attempt suicide, when the murder rate of trans women, especially trans women of color, is astronomically higher than than the murder rate for any other segment of our population, when transgender children are being bullied out of school and see no indication that college or a decent job is possible and that life will never improve for them . . . Well, all I can really say is that we need good transgender role models and exemplary allies for our children. We need them to see that there is, indeed, a future for them.

Someday, perhaps, our children and grandchildren will wonder how we ever made it this far considering the baggage we carried with us. We have a lot of work to do. There is a lot of heavy lifting ahead of us, and it isn’t going to be easy. But, there is also a lot of letting go, and I am here to tell you that it can be done.

Namaste ~ Char

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2 comments on “Visibility: A Life and Death Choice

  1. Pingback: Visibility: A Life and Death Choice | char - inside

  2. Cai
    March 10, 2015

    When I was female-identified, I was kicked out of bathrooms three times in Pennsylvania (I live a few minutes from the PA/NJ border) because gender identity is not a “protected class”. Didn’t matter the fact my ID had an “F” on it. The women felt like I didn’t belong, and the person in charge didn’t want to make a “scene” in one instance.

    Our gender-variant cis sisters also suffer badly from this gender-policying. How sad!

    I have yet to hear of an instance of trans men in the men’s room. Are we that invisible, or do cis men really don’t give a second thought about us? I guess we’re not a “threat”?

    Like

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This entry was posted on March 8, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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