Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's My Life, Not A 'Lifestyle'


One thing I hear from our opponents and people struggling to grapple with transgender issues as they come into contact with us is erroneously saddling us with the 'lifestyle' tag.

The recent comments of Greeley Police Sgt. Joseph Tymkowych, stating that Angie's murder was 'provoked by her lifestyle' are what triggered this post. Like Andres Duque at Blabbeando, I was bothered not only by Sgt. Tymkowych's comment, but by how the word 'lifestyle' was used.

In the context it was used, and especially in right-wing circles, they spin 'lifestyle' to imply by their use of the word that I or any transgender person chooses to be transgender. The only 'choice' in being transgender is choosing when you start your inevitable transition from your birth gender to your true gender.

You choose your friends, choose what clothes you're going to wear, choose what political party you support or even what church you're going to attend.

Contrary to what the scientifically ignorant Reichers tell you, you don't choose to be transgender. You just are.

I get tired of hearing that being transgender is a 'lifestyle'. Too many times in the GLBT community we help buttress that conservaspin in our own writings, conversations, and media interviews as a shorthand code for talking about being GLBT.

I have a suggestion. Instead of using 'lifestyle', try using the more accurate word 'life' to describe our reality.

4 comments:

VĂ©ronique said...

I agree 100%. In fact, I've used that "it's my life, not a lifestyle" before. At this point, we can't say it enough.

It's astounding that anyone would think we would choose this, but then such people are not usually critical thinkers anyway.

Renee said...

I completely agree with you. In fact the reason people refer to transgender as a lifestyle choice is to promote it as deviant and CIS as normal. The binary modernist way of thinking maintains many injustices in our society. It is done when referring to homosexuality vs heterosexuality as well.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there Monica! {waves}

Thank you for this post! {smiles}

Sorry this is long but...here it is...

There is a lot of confusion about transgender being a lifestyle because people who are NOT in the transgender community confuse drag queens with transgenders ALL of the time. For example, RuPaul is a drag queen - not a transgendered woman! You know this. I know this. Most people DO NOT know the difference.

RuPaul states his identity as a gay man.

I think that the transgender community has not educated the non-transgender community and ignorance prevails because of it. Yes, I know, I know... I will hear the arguments that I am blaming the transgender community for the ignorance of others... and that's not it at all...

I am just saying that if I have a DESIRE to be more fully understood then I must take steps to make that happen.

I tried to start a discussion at my blog two weeks ago about transgendered women and I would like to have a guest post (if you are interested!!) so that I can get into the nitty gritty with the visitors of my blog. Since I am a minister, my blog has quite a few "professed" Christians who visit...and you know how voluntarily IGNORANT the black church remains about the trans community so I don't even need to go there with you....

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Monica Roberts said...

Just ssay when, Lisa....