Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why Trans Education Efforts Are Vitally Important

It's been 60 years since Christine Jorgensen stepped off that SAS flight from Denmark and into the view of the unblinking eye of the world's media. 

This year has been a particularly historic one in terms of coverage we have received with the launch of the inaugural Trans 100 List by Antonia D'orsay and Jen Richards I was proud to be named to.  There was the inclusion of five Latin@ trans people on the inaugural Honor 41 List that spotlights the achievements of TBLG Latin@ people created by Alberto Mendoza.

We have also had the benefit of Janet Mock and Laverne Cox beautifully gracing the nation's televisions screens and drop knowledge on programs from the Melissa Harris Perry Show to Huff Po Live and beyond.  

Laverne has also made news as a girl like us playing a trans character on the breakout hit drama series Orange Is The New Black.

We even had trans people make lists that aren't specifically geared to our community like Dr Kortney Ryan Ziegler being named to The Root 100 list of Top Black Influencers and Laverne win the Out 100 People's Choice Award by a comfortable margin. 

Internationally my transsisters Audrey Mbugua, Naomi Fontanos and Wendy Iriepa have made appearances on the television screens of the world and in their respective homelands.   They intelligently discuss our issues in multiple venues and fight for human rights and justice.

But to borrow the eloquent words of my friend Denny Upkins, sometimes it seems as though the trans community is ice skating uphill when we attempt to smash those anti-trans stereotypes that are used by the Forces of Intolerance to oppose and continue oppressing us. 

In some cases it's the media we have to battle in terms of the people responsible for pushing those unflattering memes that result in on the Internet search engines of the world trans masculine people being erased from the conversation about trans issues and transfeminine people being disrespectfully being conflated with or called men. .

Toni said tin her blog post concerning those unflattering Internet memes:

This is why the work of improving the image, recognizing the greatness and the amazing power that we have, and why we must continue to push forward and make sure that trans women are not the only ones seen, the only ones spoken about — even as we change the way they are seen, and the way they are spoken about.

Sadly, many of those people who need that Trans 101 'ejumacation' besides the media peeps are in our own LGB ranks. And frankly, we need those education efforts in our own pink and blue flag waving trans ranks, too.  We need to be teaching our history to our newly out trans folks.  We need to give them the baseline knowledge, tools and vocabulary to tell their stories and talk about their lives.

As frustrated as we are at times in our trans ranks about the Trans 101 and 102 level of conversation in Cis World about our issues, until we get a solid majority of people acclimated to those Trans 101 and 102 discussions and blow up the obfuscations and falsehoods about us, it makes it more difficult for those who are not in Trans World to understand Trans 201, 202, 301 and 302 conversation levels. 

The trans education work must continue because of not only our four decade old TERF enemies hatin' to the disco beat, we now have the undivided attention of the Religious Reich

Defeating the patented Fox Noise fear and smear conservatactics and faith-based anti-trans hate already being deployed against us is going to be an all hands on deck project   We must give social justice minded people who see trans rights as human rights the base level of knowledge about our trans lives in order for them to be the fierce advocates and allies we need them to be. 

And yes trans peeps, sadly that trans education project will be an ongoing one. African descended cis people have been on North American soil for four centuries and we're STILL debunking in the second decade of the 21st century the negative myths that were propagated about us.  

So yes, we need to be tough minded enough to make it happen.   We also need to be cognizant of the fact these trans education efforts are long haul ones vitally important to our lofty goal of acquiring and expanding trans human rights for all of us.  

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