The Sad Risk/Reality of Being a Trans Person [TW]

[TW for violence against trans people]

Link: Transwoman Severely Beaten at Baltimore McDonalds While Employees Watch [h/t @lifeversiontwo]

I watched the video (MAJOR TW) and I am just sick to my stomach.  Apparently all this woman wanted was to use the bathroom.

From Shaker Alexmac at Shakesville:

In this post I am going to deal with the intersection of transphobia and traditional sexism which impacts trans women most strongly. Julia Serano terms this intersection to be trans-misogyny. This synergistic (in a bad way) relationship can be seen in the pay gap between MTF and FTM transsexuals. You can also look at the much higher death rate for trans feminine spectrum people versus trans masculine people at the Transgender Day of Remembrance site. [...]

Media treatment of trans women often comes in the two flavors that I described in my first post—”pathetic tranny” or “deceptive tranny.” From the pathetic tranny archetype can come the horrible men in the bathrooms slur. You see, trans women are just men in dresses who want to rape little girls. Also popular in this category is men in drag, oftentimes with facial hair and deep voices. We trans women are just crazy “men” who think they are women. (See also: Buffalo Bill.) The opposite depiction is that we are deceivers and something disgusting, as can be seen in this wonderful clip.

From RachelPhilPa at Shakesville:

Every day, I must be aware of the threats around me and make conscious choices that non-trans people don’t have to think about. Does this restaurant that I want to go to have gender-neutral bathrooms? I want to wear a skirt today — do I have the emotional strength to stand up to the stares and snark that I’ll get? What’s the safest route for me to walk from point A to point B? Can I cross that intersection diagonally like I usually do, with that cop sitting there? Is today going to be the day that a cop pulls me over and sees the female name and male gender marker on my license, and will he do a freakout all over my body? It’s pride day — why did those two lesbians just mock me on the very day that we are supposed to celebrate our diversity? What’s the chance that I’ll be harassed by assimilationist gay men if I volunteer at that GLBT community center? (Pretty high, I’ve found.) Will I be welcomed at this or that women’s event? (Very unlikely, though it has happened). Am I willing to take the risk of commenting on a feminist blog — and deal with the inevitable “aren’t you just reinforcing gender norms” and “why do you have to mutilate yourself” questions? (not here on Shakes, thank the G-ddess and Melissa, but it’s happened on nearly every other feminist blog I’ve commented on.) Will this gym allow trans women in its women’s locker room? (Fat chance.) And on and on and on… [...]

And that includes bathrooms. For gender-normative people, especially men, using a public bathroom is so run-of-the-mill that it’s almost an automatic act. At worst, it’s something that is mildly unpleasant (Ewww! Stinky!). But for a trans or gender-variant person, public bathrooms are dangerous places, exposing us to harassment, ridicule, physical and sexual assault, and arrest and abuse by police. I avoid most of this harassment simply by avoiding public bathrooms where I can. But I can’t alway do that. Sometimes, I do get called for jury duty, and the worst part of jury duty is the tension and fear around using the bathroom in a building (courthouse) that is swarming with police. [...]

I think that it is pathetic that, should I need to travel, or I decide to just do it and take my lumps, that I’ll need to search this site to find a safe bathroom. No one should have to do that.

From Jos at Feministing:

Anti-gay violence and speech, anti-trans violence and speech, the use of homophobic and transphobic epithets, cat-calling and gay and trans bashing, are all about putting another person in their place in the gender hierarchy so the attacker can reaffirm their own power and position.

Everyone who experiences this broad range of attacks is being told they fail to conform to the gender identity at the top. I believe this understanding is crucial to battling all these forms of physical and verbal violence. While simultaneously challenging, for example, anti-gay sentiments, we can do the most to combat all these problems by going after the root: compulsory conformity to a binary gender hierarchy. This is why I believe so strongly in politics that put those in the margins, those experiencing the brunt of a particular system of oppression, in the center. Trans and gender non-conforming folks may experience hate and violence that is most obviously about gender non-conformity, but the understanding and experience that comes from this can benefit everyone who is harmed by this oppressive system, even raising the consciousness of those who are so psychically hurt they would turn to horrific violence to maintain this order.

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