Monday, February 10, 2014

Beginning Of The Inevitable Backlash

TransGriot Note: I said it a different way, but had to post this commentary from Jen Richards, the co-founder of the Trans 100 over the racist BS that erupted in the wake of the jacked up 'I'll deal with you' Morgan interview.

It was inevitable that other trans people would start coming for Janet Mock & Laverne Cox once they reached a certain level of visibility. Hell, we talked about it. Now that's it's come, it feels less saddening and more ridiculous. What I've just read is too absurd to dignify, and too transparently racist and self-centered to excuse, so I'll just make a few brief points.

1) If you're white and are upset by the attention on issues facing trans people of color, you need a serious reality check. When we talk about violence against LGBT people, we're really talking about trans women of color. That's who is being killed. When we talk about HIV, we're really talking about trans women of color. Yes, we're all suffering in various ways, but focusing where the crisis is most urgent doesn't hurt you. But your griping about it reeks of racism and hurts us all.

2) Neither Laverne nor Janet claims to be spokespeople for the whole community, but they're using their voices for the good of others, and there are a lot of us who are very grateful for it.

3) Don't like the attention Janet & Laverne are getting for themselves, people like them, or the issues they care about? THEN GO SUCCEED LIKE THEM AND MAKE YOUR OWN PRIORITIES. I'm so tired of people knocking others down just because they can't get themselves up. I've seen both of these women struggle, but I've never hear either of them blame anyone else. Not once.

3) Laverne was doing work in the community for years before 'Orange is the New Black'. Not only was she put on the Trans 100 before being cast, she flew herself out to Chicago for the event and was backstage helping other people, just because she wanted to. And she has used her to fame to bring attention to all kinds of issues and causes.

4) Of course Janet wants to sell books. She's a writer, and a damn good one. Is she any less deserving than any other writer selling books? And you all have no idea how much she gives back. But she's never done anything inappropriate to sell books or gather attention. She's just worked really hard, and really smart. Again, go do better if you can! But sure as hell don't tell me that you can't because your white ass has had a harder time.

5) A rising tide lifts all ships. When one of us succeeds and lifts others up, it's a good thing. Try just being happy that a few trans people are succeeding and keep working hard yourself. It's actually much more satisfying.

6) If you're white and are upset by the attention on issues facing trans people of color, you need a serious reality check. Oh, did I already say that? WELL CLEARLY IT NEEDS TO BE SAID A LOT.

We need to have more serious conversations about race in the trans community, and I intend to help start a few. We need nuance, and multiple perspectives. But this shit I've just seen on Facebook is plain old stupid, racist bullshit, so I'm going to have those conversations on another day.

TransGriot Update: And that racist backlash has included people deliberately writing negative reviews on about Redefining Realness.

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