Thursday, March 29, 2007

Betrayal

 

Nothing stings quite so harshly, or quite so deeply as it. In the world of politics -- especially online -- betrayal is wicked and callous and uncaring and its ever so common.

And, for TS folk, its an everyday occurrence.

We get betrayed by our friends in thoughtless moments of conversation, betrayed by old habits during casual outings, betrayed by those who have stepped up to speak for us, betrayed by those who seek to legislate for us, betrayed by those who give us the very care we spend so much effort seeking or avoiding.

Betrayed by our erstwhile Allies.

 

I'm fairly vocal, reasonably erudite, and I like to think that I have some sort of miniscule impact on others by being implacably accurate and correct when I argue with not a small amount of passion in favor of gay rights.

I'm not notably activist minded. I have little desire to exist before the cameras and within the press, to have my privacy removed from me. I am a one person at a time sort of girl, making a point of talking about it, and doing my best not necessarily to change minds, but to change knowledge -- and then hoping that it, in and of itself, will do the job for me.

It usually works. Comparable success rate in selling things using the same formula is about 65% when they don't want it, 90% when they do.  The rest, well, they don't want it and don't care.

And I've been doing so for quite some time. At no small risk to myself, but, well, its worth it.

 

As I've been doing this, ENDA has been slowly winding its way through different congressional procedures, drawing support and setting up for what everyone, naturally, hopes will be a big ole active deal come next month.  And, given the President signs pretty much everything that crosses his desk, that's expected too.

Except, you know...

Every single time ENDA has gone through this before, at the last minute, to get that one single vote for passage, they made a deal.

They, being the political action committee that does all of this work, compromise.

They cut something out.  They reduce the challenges. They make it easier for it to get through, because its *that* important.

 

And the thing they compromise on is TS folks.  They get chopped out, kicked to the corner, left in the dust. Like they have been for every single other major piece of legislation.

Its so bad, so obvious, so reliable a tactic, that they have gone to great lengths to swear up and down that they won't do it again.  They have to stand up and tell us they won't do it again. They have to sell it to us that this time we're going to be safe too.

And it will be the same as before. They will still betray us. Everything else does.

 

Our Allies in this cause are, nominally, other GLB folks.

And, often, they are far more understanding, for more accepting, and far more able to deal with us.  But, far too often, they are also far worse than those who we oppose on their behalf.

These soldiers of gay rights blow their horns loudly and proudly and walk out and face the enemy and use words for their weapons and knowledge as their shield, and have zero understanding or comprehension of the foe they battle, and wonder, in private, why they are so unable to win greater victories.

And then there are the TS people. Who do understand, and who do have sharper weapons and better shields, and who fight alongside them right up until they fall.

forgotten.

kicked off to the side.

left to rot in the sun.

 

My first, and most recent, experiences with transphobia have been with gay men. In both cases, they thought they had it all figured out. They felt that they, somehow, knew more about TS folks than we do. They call us gay men without guts, or lesbians who are too butch.

The first time, I was the target. It started simply enough, but ended in a wicked display of how fast from my little perch I can descend, and how vile I, too, can become.  I don't regret having said the things I said -- the purpose was to make him feel as bad as he had made me feel -- but I am ashamed as I had to use arguments akin to those I fight each day, that were far more personal and a hell of a lot stronger.

Because, ultimately, there is a good, logical reason to deny gay rights.  I've seen some folks come close, but they've never quite reached it, and I generally know why, but I will never, even to a friend, explain what it is until after they are secured -- or I switch to the other side.

The most recent time I was wasn't. It was a friend of mine -- one that didn't deserve what she walked into. One that has done more with less cause than the clod who accosted her has done. He put far too much importance on his efforts there, and claimed we were all the usual things, and said it nastily -- not pleasantly, but nastily.

It was infuriating.  He blindsided her, and, in that moment, betrayed her.

And me, and every other TS who has ever spoken out on behalf of gay rights.

And every other gay man and every lesbian.

But, like I said, we're TS.  Betrayal is an every day occurrence.

 

I just hope that, maybe, one day, betrayal itself with betray us, and we'll be free to be human again.Song: Lost In The Shadows (The Lost Boys) by Various

6 comments:

Trish said...

"maybe, one day, betrayal itself will betray us"

That is so beautiful. You're really fantastic ya know.

Anonymous said...

Transsexuals marginalize themselves, and that's always going to make it hard for you folks to fight for your rights.

First, you're such a tiny minority. Nothing you can do about that one, but it hurts you.

Second, the most "successful" amongst you fade into society and don't wish to be known as transsexual. That one REALLY hurts you.

That means that default, you're represented most often by those who are least-able to get others to empathize with them as the gender they're portraying.

-Ash

Trish said...

Ash, are you a tranny chaser, a nascent TS, or what?

In any case, here are some comments:

1. People who aren't doing drag or cross-dressing are not "portraying" a gender. People have a gender, or are a gender. That goes for trans people too, just like anyone else.

2. You lack basic empathic capacity. Otherwise you would not have said that Ugandan woman should be deported or thrown in prison.

Nevertheless, if you regard TS people as human, and could manage to somehow put yourself in our shoes, just as a fellow human being not necessarily as TS, you would understand that most of us do not wish to spend our lives trying to get other people to empathize with us.

I sure don't. I have more self-respect than to grovel for empathy.

3. No one "represents" a class of people. Thinking this is one of the root causes of all sorts of "isms" and bigotry. People are people, first.

(Actually Toni... that's my one criticism of your "Betrayal" entry. It was a little heavy on the group side... The incident was just one stupid possibly-gay man out of millions of gay men. On a fairly obscure message board. I in no sense feel he betrayed me since he was never with me to begin with. Just as a matter of keeping perspective! :-) Though I am sick of the complete lack of recpirocity, it's true.)

Ash: You may like some people and not others. Other people, who you likely do not like and who do not like you, probably dislike the people you like and like the people you dislike.

So please do not imagine your analysis of representation is in any way objective.

Also, if you are TS, my sincerest recommendation would be that you do not obsess about representation issues. They're essentially impossible to deal with in a small minority. There are segments of the trans community that make me uncomfortable and who I wish I wasn't associated with in other people's minds. I'm sure there are trans people who feel the same way about me. Whenever any trans person is visible, most non-trans people, whether they like it or not, take them to some extent as representative of all or many trans people. In some cases it can be really annoying! But if you obsess about it, you begin to create divisiveness that isn't helpful to anyone.

4. Your second point is a criticism only if you imagine that the raison d'etre of every trans person is to fight for every other trans person's rights as well as their own.

But sometimes fighting for your own personal rights in the course of *living* your own life is enough, especially since that can sometimes create the conditions for effecting the rights of others.

Many of us want to be able to enjoy life. That's the point? And we should be allowed to do so without criticism from those who wish to dictate other people's actions to them (or deem them courageous or not by their own personal standards that are not based on any direct knowledge).


Anyways...

Trish said...

Ash,

You stated you believe that a lesbian tortured by her own family and raped should either be imprisoned in the US or be deported and so be put in prison in her own country.

Are you 5th?

Vyxyn said...

First, thanks for the comments :D

TS folks don't marginalize themselves. That is, they do not intentionally seek to be cast aside from society. That's done for and to them, regardless of their personal politcal, ethical, social, or whatever views on things.

That's why they call it discrimination.

We are a tiny minority. Very tiny. My own estimates put it at around half a million in the US, TS-wise. Expand it to TG, and its closer to about 12 million, since TG "officially" includes several other groups.

And many do blend in -- we are, ourselves, just as much a part of the culture as anyone else.

Nor are we drag queens -- as noted we do not "portray". I'll grant that sometimes the expressions can be a bit over the top (mine certainly are, lol), but a great deal of that is exultation, and the rest, well, the rest is distraction.

I was reasonably careful in my choice of words regarding the representing us. I'm well aware of the intense diversity that lies beneath the thin veneer of commonality of goal.

Yet, at the same time, I'm also aware that representation isn't always something one chooses for one's self, and that often that representative has little or nothing in common with you -- but you will always be seen through the lens of that person by those who do not know you.

We live in this society. THe people that are seen by it who claim or are thought to be us will be the ones that people think of first.

I'm not above using what I feel are the better examples in defense of who I am, but I'm not quite that blonde: These people often work at cross purposes for my personal goals, and there is a strong push back home for me to out myself -- which I will not do until and unless I see a benefit in doing so.

Life is hard enough as it is -- I don't need to add to the nightmare.

Anonymous said...

----Ash, are you a tranny chaser, a nascent TS, or what?----

Vyxyn invited me here to read her blog. Go away you friggin nutjob.

-Ash