Hopping for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality—Focus: Visibility (Or, on peeing in North Carolina and such)

Hello! It’s IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), and I’m here (with the rest of the hop bloggers and readers) to talk about visibility, awareness, and equality.HAPHOBIAUMBRELLA2016

Well, that’s a lot to talk about, so let’s break it down. Let me start today by talking about visibility, and specifically visibility in the United States.

This year, Trans-related issues are big on everyone’s radar, what with hater legislation (let’s call it what it is) about—of all thigs—bathrooms being very visibly bandied about and enacted in several states, with North Carolina’s HB2 taking a front and center position though Tennessee and eight other states including Minnesota have similar bills. Yes, visibility is an issue across the LGBT-QIA spectrum, but for now, let’s talk about Trans, baby.

“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry—which is happening as I write—is one of them.”

~~Bruce Springsteen

Why focus on visibility?

As I see it from a historical perspective, because visibility is the crux of this focus on toileting. Conversely, invisibility has been both a product and a tool of hateful bigotry for… well, maybe as long as there have been humans who hated. If you are a member of any group that has been marginalized (to any degree) by the dominant culture, you very likely have experienced invisibility. Sometimes, it is a protective instinct to retreat into it. If a hypothetical ‘they’ don’t know that a hypothetical ‘you’ is African, Native, gay, lesbian, refugee, bisexual, HIV+, immigrant—anything that doesn’t match ‘their’ perception of ‘like us’—if ‘they’ don’t know, it is possible to avoid being excluded, ridiculed, ignored, followed around by the store detectives, or beaten to a bloody pulp. Sometimes, invisibility isn’t on purpose. ‘You’ can’t or won’t or just don’t happen to hide your color, country of origin, sexuality, gender identification, age (etc), and therefore the store employee skips over you, your job application gets lost, you speak and no one hears you.

But it shouldn’t be like this. Not only does rendering certain people invisible in society result in numerous individual violations of constitutional human rights, it attempts to rob people of status as human beings. You realize, don’t you, that in the sixties, if you had asked school officials about gay or queer students, they very likely would have said they didn’t exist?

I believe bigoted people feel threatened because trans (and other rainbow spectrum) individuals have shrugged off their cloaks of invisibility—a brave thing to do, dangerous, but life-affirming. People have embraced their identity and thus their humanity. “I am this person, exactly as I am meant to be.” That is a joyful thing, to be celebrated.

Except to the person who keeps their mind closed around the training tapes they’ve heard all their lives, which make it clear that if someone is different, they’re dangerous. If that’s the case, you’re likely to be afraid.

Two ways to deal with fear. One: find out why and fix it. This usually involves a willingness to learn and understand—to listen and truly hear. Two: turn it into something else—hate.

Hate= “it’s not me it’s you.”

So we have Hate Bill 2 and around 100 antil LGBT-Q spectrum bills around the US.

Getting back to North Carolina where you might have to flash your birth certificate to get into a bathroom (because hey, what’s more important for a state legislature to spend time on than where people pee?), just today I saw an article relative to North Carolina’s ridiculous law, being trans, and visibility. Singer Laura Jane Grace, founder of the punk band Against Me, decided they shouldn’t cancel their appearance. In her particular case, she thought another approach would be more effective.

She’s a trans woman, you see, so she burned her birth certificate on stage.

© Brian Ach, Invision/AP

© Brian Ach, Invision/AP

“Goodbye gender.”

~~Laura Jane Grace

Thank you for reading and hopping for the cause. Comment on this post and enter your name for a giveaway: $15 Gift Certificate Dreamspinner Press, ARe, or Amazon. I’d love to hear how you feel about visibility, whether you have experiences to share, news, or thoughts on the subject. Or, comment on any aspect of these issues, the hop, or my post.

Here are all the blog hop links, for your convenience! (Thanks all you bloggers!)


Filed under blog hop, Contests, homophobia, IDAHOT Blog Hop, just a category, Transphobia

45 Responses to Hopping for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality—Focus: Visibility (Or, on peeing in North Carolina and such)

  1. jenf27

    Great post! I totally agree that visibility is a big issue and feeds into inequality, disenfranchisement etc. My experience with it comes from years ago when I worked on a team that was all male except me. And they treated any “female” issues, ideas, ways of approaching things etc. as lower and lesser and a drag on the team. I still work in the same arena (much different team though) and things have changed with more women working and more women in leadership positions.

  2. Cornelia

    The more visible, the more one has to recognize a person,family, friend, neighbor. Equality must be for all. Thank you for informative post.

  3. When I see the struggle my son goes through deciding which bathroom to use, it makes my heart ache that he even has to hesitate.

    • That’s it exactly, Lena! Why should it be such a struggle for him to just live life as the person he is? Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  4. Trix

    I never really thought about the *in*visibility aspect, since the importance of visibility is always what most people concentrate on…that alone is insidious, so thank you for pointing it out!

  5. Thank you for the thought provoking post. I don’t think I thought of visibility/invisibility in quite those ways.

  6. suze294

    Have never been in an invisible group but your post is definitely thought provoking and hopefully people can see, and relate maybe back in time, how destructive this can be – regardless of your group

  7. Angela

    Thanks for this post and for participating. it is so important to keep talking to each other and i agree with you that there are two ways to deal with fear. Let’s hope that the first one: find out why and fix it is the one people will choose

  8. AM

    Card-carrying Invisible here. I’m a bi person usually perceived as a woman married to a man. It’s tough to remain visible among all the assumptions, and sometimes it can indeed be dangerous. Thanks for your post! 🙂

  9. Sarah

    As a pansexual woman married to a pansexual man, my straight-passing privilege annoys me to no end, but at the same time, I know it’s what’s kept me safe more than once. Rock/hard place.

  10. Lou, you have serious blogging skills. Wow. Great look at the root causes of craziness like HB2. So glad you participated in the hop.
    Cherie Noel, Hop Admin

    • Thanks for the compliment, Cherie! I appreciate all the work organizers/administrators have put into the hop each year, this year being no exception—so this is me saying thank you. 🙂

  11. JenCW

    Fabulous post! It’s amazing what fear can do to people. There was a quote from a book I read years ago that lept to mind while reading you post:
    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
    ― Frank Herbert, Dune

    Visibility brings understanding, but its a slow process sometimes.

  12. what a thought provoking post! thank you <3

  13. Rod B

    Great post. As someone who spent almost their entire life living in NY, I never realized how lucky I was to live in a culture of visibility & acceptance. I’m currently living in a very conservative part of Arizona where bigotry is rampant. I feel very sorry for the youth growing up here 🙁


    • Great insight, Rod. It certainly does matter where you are, and enforced silence can be horrible—even deadly—for everyone, but especially for youth. Thanks for the comment.

  14. Thank you for the post. I live in a very conservative country, and really it’s sad to see how so many can ostrasize LGBTQ people because they don’t understand them. 🙁


    • Thank you Mari! I know the situation in some other countries is extremely challenging for people on the side of equality, and if people are unable to safely step forward, it just perpetuates the awful misunderstandings, mistrust, and mistreatment. Thanks for your comment!

  15. Thank you for the great post, Lou. I completely agree with you. Denying visibility to a person or group is the ultimate form of alienation, telling somebody you do not have rights because you do not exist. By promoting visibility we are promoting the rights of those people who society has tried to ignore; no matter who we are, whatever our race, religion, sexuality…. We all have the right to our voice in society

  16. Milica

    Thank you for participating and the great post!

  17. bn100

    nice of you to participate

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  18. Pingback: IDAHOT Hop for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality, take 2—an apology and thoughts about self-knowledge | Lou Sylvre, Author

  19. Rose

    Thanks for the great addition to this blog hop!

  20. Juliana

    Thank you so much on your visibility post, such a timely subject.

  21. sherry1969

    Thanks for such a thought provoking post.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  22. I love Laura Jane Grace, such a courageous and beautiful woman. As for visibility, I think it is very important. How do you know that a problem exists if it isn’t visible? The more people come forward and tell their stories, the more we learn, the further we go in achieving equality. We have been silent and invisible for a long time. Not anymore.


  23. Vitto

    It is extremely important for us to talk about all the people under the umbrella, especially in the light of the recent events, so thanks for talking participation in this blog hop!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Vitto! I am late responding, but I am glad you were here and appreciate your thoughts. You are in the running for the giveaway–drawing tomorrow. 🙂

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