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.
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.”
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
~~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!)