Being an ally is tough work. Not "omg woe is meeee" tough but "augh I fucked up, let me try that again" tough. The difference is the former, I think, is more self-serving, and the latter is an admittance of need-to-do-better-ness, not only because you feel you have to, but because you WANT to.
Over Twitter last night I talked about a song Danz had sent me from a trans performer named Adhamh Roland. Danz said he was a trans woman, and I gleefully went about saying "she" until I stumbled upon his Myspace and realized I should be using male pronouns. Oops! I changed, but kept stumbling because...well he looks and sounds female, and in my binary mind = girl = she regardless of every source referring to him as a "he". Oops again!
While talking about the artist at some point my brain clicked in with "auuuug this is harrrrd~ *flailflail*" in a sort of self defeating manner. I didn't totally give up though.
You see, also, in my journey on becoming a better ally and maybe a better human being in the proecess, I've been trying to figure out how to tackle trans issues. I write up blog posts in my sleep (no shit) and dismiss them like little mental drafts because they're never quite right. Because I've been so focused on the negative aspects of life--which is driving me nuts--all I wanted to talk about was transphobia.
The thing about transphobia is, I think of all the isms and phobias, it actually confuses me most of all. Gays & lesbians can be transphobic and I've seen it and just thought "Eh?" Then those normal cisgendered hetero folks can be transphobic as well--even gleefully so. And it's so strange to me when anyone is derided and abused just for living their lives, even with the groups you'd think they would belong with, like the gay & lesbian community. But that's also the same community that blamed blacks for prop 8 and has apparently decided that bisexuals of any type don't exist so I should take that back...no I'm not bitter at all.
Pretty sure last year I talked about the Remembering Our Dead project and I'm still astounded at how many trans women and trans men are murdered each year. That's part of the reason I'm so anxious about the Angie Zapata trial (note: I'm too stupid right now to figure out the light a candle button so don't think I just forgot about it or something, working on it). I want to see a court charge this as a hate crime and put a foot down and say this is MURDER and it's a HATEFUL murder. You killed this woman because she was different and you deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
But who knows how that will turn out...it seems our country is still having a hard trouble accepting "differences"--I'm looking at you, entire country, even Hawaii and Alaska--and I'm feeling rather moot instead of optimistic. Being an ally is tough work...when there's not even any hope in you.
If I may transition to SADNESS, occasionally I'll bump into people I don't really want to be ally'd with. No, not the groups I'm ally'ing for, but other allies. Let's talk about my fucking Am Lit II professor yet again.
See, prof has declared himself a "bleeding heart liberal" in front of the class...with no irony, and even has the nice pink triangle on his office door, which I GUESS makes him a friend to gays. This man is no friend of mine though and I'd rather he not be.
I know, we can't all be enlightened. But I really doubt your "liberal" credentials when you can refer to a story involving Zora Neale Hurston in which she allegedly molested a "retarded" child and then call Zelda Fitzgerald "insane" and "crazy".
Even more SADNESS is the failure of the class--including myself--to call him out on this...stupid-speak. I felt like less of an ally and more of an apathetic student, which I am, but I picked the wrong time to just lose all empathy (and feeling in my pimp-hand).
Being an ally is tough work and never-ending, sometimes tiring, sometimes gratifying, sometimes amazing, sometimes AMAZING, sometimes NYARLATHOTEP BE PRAISED. And I hope I can continue...
April 14, 2009