Tag Archives: bullying

Remembering Our Dead, Part 14

TDOR logo from TransGRiotA couple of years ago I wrote that I wanted to move on from the remembering our dead and feeling like I was always mourning as a transgender person. I wasn’t attempting to ignore death or suffering, or our collective pain, but I wondered aloud about the consequences of having our most notable event be our public grief. There are specific deaths that haunt me, like the violent ends of Tyra Hunter in Washington, DC, and Gwen Araujo in California, where my sadness crops up again and again whenever I start thinking about the ease with which people murder my trans sisters. Perhaps however it’s the aggregate of shortened lives, the headlines in alternative media that declare that in 2012, 265 transsexuals–mostly trans women–have died. Or maybe it’s when my brain starts a painful calculation of how many more of us were lost to drug addiction, or medical negligence, or due to homelessness, maybe that’s when I consider screaming. In a culture that so often vaunts itself as “pro-life,” transgender people are cleanly marked as less than. Otherwise, where is our national outrage? Even young gay men have their celebrity champion against bullying and the damage bullies wreak.

It feels like too much, a lot of the time. But in my next breath I need to acknowledge my middle class status, privilege of whiteness, and the reality that I am mostly safe and definitely supported by the community at large where I live, despite my openness as a trans man. If I am ready to push past the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I’m leaving it to those more vulnerable than me to keep the mantle held high. Yes, I’ve mourned the losses of my chosen family since I came out as queer in 1991–to AIDS, to self-loathing, to fear, to violence, to chemical dependence–but I can’t walk away from bringing these atrocities to light, to larger audiences. Read More…

The Limitations of Dichotomies

dichotomy poster imageI don’t pretend that this is news, for I first learned about false dichotomies in 1991, as the prequel war began in Iraq. Actually the rhetoric around that conflict gives good context for this discussion, because it was presented by the media to all of us as a fight between good and evil, the granddaddy of all dichotomies. George Bush the Elder seemed not quite the thousandth point of light to we idealistic college students, and although Saddam Hussein clearly wasn’t a benevolent leader for his country, many of us questioned the purity of malignancy that our government suggested he represented.

Friends came back from Desert Storm with nagging or incapacitating illnesses that were written off as psychosomatic, while the faces of so many dead Iraqis scarcely made the evening news. We told ourselves that it was a good thing the whole event was over in three weeks, at least until several years later when Colin Powell explained to the United Nations that this was why we needed to return and finish off the regime once and for all.

The story about the good forces in the world and its evil counterparts is compelling, certainly. It’s also got longevity in culture because its very narrative design is never-ending. Good and evil are intertwined, at battle forever. And by extension, so is every other dichotomy that has positive and negative valences. Maddona/whore. Rich/poor. Country/city. Bully/bullied. Read More…

Cookie Monster and Memory Lane

girl scout cookiesSeveral years ago, Cookie Monster himself declared that cookies were a “sometimes food.” What a disappointment. After a childhood of thinking the way to eat a cookie was to mash it into my felty mouth, now I was supposed to eat apples and celery?

At least we had the annual Girl Scout cookie drive, the largest fundraising activity for the Girl Scout organization. There’s a proper emphasis on cookies. Who doesn’t like buying a couple of boxes of these to help support one of the biggest woman-run organizations in the US?

Taylor, a teenage Scout from California, that’s who. In her YouTube video, she calls for a boycott on Girl Scout cookies because a troop in Colorado let in a trans girl as a Scout. Taylor thinks this 7-year-old is a danger to the other Scouts, and unravels the entire “for girls” mantra in the organization. Read More…

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