Saturday, November 17, 2012

Where Y'all At For TDOR And Beyond, GLB Community?

Cheryl Courtney-Evans at her abitchforjustice blog wrote a post entitled 'Paying REAL Homage to Our Transgender Fallen' that discusses a recurring problem in the rainbow community.

When events are centered (or supposed to be centered on) the "T" end of the community, far too often the people predominately in the room when said event is scheduled to happen are trans with little or minuscule representations from the GLB end of the community.

Even the Transgender Day of Remembrance is not immune from this phenomenon, and that's galling since it's an event the trans community created.  For those of you who profess to be our allies, the least you can do if you're able to do so is show your support for our community on a day we created that transpeople all over the world are memorializing the people we've lost due to anti-trans violence.

Even if the GLB allies are well intentioned, it can still leave the transpeople in attendance feeling left out, as Cheryl points out in this excerpt from her post.:.

I attended one such dinner two nights ago, presented by an LGBT HIV/AIDS prevention organization. While it was enjoyable, with a mime performance by a transman of my acquaintance, a beautiful rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings" sung by a personable young gay man and a small local 3-piece band, I left it feeling entertained but empty. There was a great, entertaining presentation about "Stigma Surrounding HIV/AIDS Infection" given to us by a terribly charismatic transgender woman (she really "took us to church"), and the food was good.... Don't get me wrong, I had a good time, but at the bottom of it I still felt empty. 

I felt this way because I knew when all was said and done, the only reason we were 'entertained' so well was because this LGBT organization was getting funded by a  pharmaceutical company who paid for the dinner so as to give the presentation (no word of our fallen, past the fact that the event was titled "Transgender Day Of Remembrance Celebration"). No mention was made of what we're going to do about changing the position of the transgender  community in the future, although there was a "humanitarian award" given to a doctor known for her attendance to HIV positive transgender individuals, with a couple of honorable mentions for young gay men who worked with this organization (the young singer among them). I had to wonder, "What's the point?" and "Would this event even have taken place without the pharmaceutical company's funding?" as well as "Who is this helping?" Okay, so we got out for a couple of hours, ate some good food and chuckled for a minute...but what next? Out of an audience of maybe 50 people, I'd say 30 were transgender (including the presenter); nothing was learned, no future plans for transgender advancement made or real homage paid to those of us who have died due to murder, abuse or neglect.

We not only want and need you there as our allies during this emotional time, but as my trans elder Cheryl pointed out, we also need your support on the days of the calendar beyond November 20.

I'm going to echo Cheryl by stating that being a trans ally doesn't begin and end on that date.  It's a 24/7/365 journey and 366 days in a leap year like this one.   You honor our fallen trans sisters by resolving to be the type of GLB ally that doesn't
pay lip service to the idea.  

We need you to stand with us and in some cases be front and center when we push for trans inclusive legislation and initiatives that help the trans community move forward.  Remember when we gain human rights coverage, your human rights expand as well. 

e need GLB people calling out and taking to task those in their ranks who spout the divisive words that trans people aren't part of 'their' community and calling out their fellow GLB people who actively work to oppress trans people.  We need lesbian and bisexual women pushing back against radical feminists and cis women who denigrate and disrespect the femininity of trans women.

We need GLB peeps to be just as fierce advocates for trans human rights and issues as we have been for your issue concerns for decades.  But most of all, we just need you GLB folks to show up and show out on our behalf.. 

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