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.