Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Stop Using The Oppressor's Word 'Lifestyle' To Describe Our Lives

One of the things that irritates me to no end is when I hear people in the TBLG community use the word 'lifestyle' to describe our situations and our lives.

The problem with that word is that it is our conservafool oppressors favorite term to use to verbally beat us down with as well.   It's why I have a viscerally negative reaction to it and why I'm writing this post calling for us to expunge it from our civil rights talking points and intra community discourse immediately.

A lifestyle is something you choose, such as your religion, your hair, the style of clothes you wear, your political party or the music you listen to.    We are born with a gender identity, and if were lucky the genitalia and body to match that gender identity. 

Unfortunately some of us have to spend a few years getting to that point.

I've had Moni's exterior match the interior for over 15 years now.   For the most part I'm happy about my life although there are some things I could stand to improve.   I like the person staring back at me when I look in the mirror to brush my teeth and wash my face in the morning, and I damned sure like the way she looks when she gets glammed up. 

When the Forces of Intolerance describe us by spitting that word 'lifestyle' at us, it is meant to be demeaning, dehumanizing, and disrespectful to our lived experiences.

As someone said in my Facebook comment thread that led to this post:

Using the word "lifestyle" is an attempt to diminish the essential nature of who we are. It's dismissive and reduces core identity to a merely whimsical choice which can be reversed or undone at will.

And this person basically cut to the chase of why I get pissed about hearing that word in TBLG circles, especially when we are doing education to others outside our little rainbow community.

Being trans is not a 'lifestyle'   It is our lives, our lived experiences and it disrespects the memory of everyone we've lost and memorialized in the over 12 years we've been doing TDOR's to characterize it that way.      

And it's even worse when we flagellate ourselves by using our oppressor's language to diminish our own lives.

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