'I believe that the old WPATH, then HBIGDA requirement that transgender people fade away into society is a major factor in causing many of the acceptance problems that we are grappling with now.' TransGriot September 9, 2008 'Stealth Was A Mistake'
Once again the old Stealth vs Out argument cropped up in an unexpected place It surfaced in the middle of a GLAAD website comment thread discussing the media coverage of a May 8 story concerning ABC News producer Dawn Ennis coming out as trans.
One of the comments in that thread led Jillian Page to write a blog post entitled 'Why Most Transitioned People Don't Carry The Transgender Torch.'. The thrust of that post I respectfully disagree with because I have seen this selfish 'I don't have any obligation or responsibility to the trans community' sentiment expressed far too often by predominately white and late transitioning trans women.
Transpeople have attempted the futile chase for pseudo cisprivilege by hiding in stealth ever since Christine Jorgensen stepped off the airplane from Denmark 60 years ago. Where did that get us as a community?
I grew up as a teen in the 70's not knowing our trans history, who our role models were, much less as a person of color whether there were transpeople who shared my ethnic heritage until I was in early adulthood.
Stealth robbed me, the transkids of my generation and those who grew up in the 80's of all that and the secure knowledge that we are part of something greater than ourselves in terms of membership in a worldwide trans community.
You cannot fight for your human rights as a community from the closet or if far too many members of it are selfishly sitting on the sidelines unwilling to push back against your oppressors or the injustice shoveled your way.
It's not an accident that when transpeople started becoming out, proud, visible, open about their lives and the issues that plague this community, and organized to fight for justice and trans equality the legislative and legal wins followed.
Carrie Hirsch said this in the discussion we had on my Facebook page about that page blog post that triggered my response to it.
Our history does not go away. It may be less of a focus in our day to day, but being Trans will always be there. Nothing to be ashamed of. To be proud of one's past, one must be proud of themselves.
Yeah, you do have a responsibility to the trans community to do what you can to help move trans rights forward. I guess you'd feel differently about the subject if you'd come out of your mother's wombs as marginalized persons and experienced the micro and macroaggressions of bigotry and discrimination in your everyday lives.
To me it's a disgraceful spitting on the graves of Christine Jorgensen, Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and the long list of trans people who were out there on the front lines doing the education and taking the slings and arrows so you stealth 'I'm a woman now' trans people can deny you ever were trans.
May I remind you the societal space you have in your lives to be able to sit comfortably on your couches and not care about the trans community is paid for with the shed blood of Black and Latina trans women who died trying to live their lives and be the women they were meant to be.
If trans kids like Jazz are stepping up, showing up and showing out as they do their part to push the trans rights envelope forward, you selfish stealth trans adults have no excuse not to do so.
Yes, everyone who transitions is obligated to uphold and honor the trans legacy of struggle by doing something to advance the cause of trans human rights in their locales, their nations and around the world.
How you do that is your choice. But sitting on your behinds and doing nothing is the wrong course of action.
TransGriot Note: Photo is of Ajita Wilson, a trans movie actress of the 70's and 80's and August 1981 JET Beauty of the Week whose trans status was undisclosed until her 1987 death