Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ch 44: Living in Fear


   Hello Everyone ;),

        Well it has been a while since I've written about what I have been up to and with all the news surrounding Islan Nettles (http://janetmock.com/2013/08/28/islan-nettles-vigil-trans-women-of-color/) and Chelsea Manning (http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/22/us/bradley-manning) I have been talking and relating to many of my sisters and in the conversations discussing the idea of fear.  I tried to articulate in past posts and in my vlog about how we as trans women live in fear everyday, and not just trans women but women in general as well.  Though the truth is trans women have the highest rate of hate crime and violence done against them than any other group proportionally. 

       So, we look to these examples and we see a lot of people championing the cause of Chelsea Manning I think mostly because there are political groups that are taking these cases that are very public and using them as a jumping board hopefully for a trans rights movement.  Though in reality, I mean think about it, if you identified as a woman, cis or trans and were put in a max security male prison, what do you think would happen?  I am by no means saying that what Chelsea did was condoned, but there is a human issue here beyond just right and wrong.  Current prison policy in many states is that if an individual is on HRT they can continue the treatment, but if SRS has not been done, the individual will still go into a prison associated with their birth gender.  Once SRS or if SRS has been completed then they officially will recognize you as the gender you may identify as.

      Again, think about it, someone 1/2 way through the process working through SRS on HRT, presenting in their gender identity full time, again is put in the prison of their birth gender.  The issue is while these people did make mistakes and based on current laws should be imprisoned they are being put in positions where they are likely to be murdered, raped and have horrible experiences in prison life.  Not that these things don't happen to normal inmates, but to have a target on your back from the beginning is a Humane issue that needs to be considered.

      Outside of prison we look at Islan Nettles case, who was beaten to death in a hate crime.  Those of us who are trans and 'out' about it face discrimination, harassment, possible rape and murder every day we leave our houses.  Many Trans-women fear leaving their homes, stay at home and avoid going out in public because of these fears.  We do have to be extremely strong to not only go through these fears, but then to consider the normal fears of being a woman, I suggest carrying some form of pepper-spray or something that you can use in emergencies.  Most of us lose muscle mass, and feel highly vulnerable to the general public.  And those of us who don't 'pass' face an even harder time.

 
 
      Jennifer Cohen - Above, articulates about how we in the trans community discriminate, cause self-doubt and fear in our sisters and brothers.  As she states what is 'trans-enough' and who are we to fit into what society says is male and female.  Again I refer to my previous post the sliding scale of gender.  Gender is not black and white, one or the other, many of us and I would argue all of us are part male and female and fall somewhere on the continuum.  While I, as many of my sisters deal with dysphoria and want to look a certain way to be pretty, to be what society views as a beautiful woman.  There are many of us because of genetic makeup, or monetary constraints cannot do so.  Does this make them any less male or female? Just like some men have lots of body hair and others have none, women and men come in all shapes and sizes.
 
      So, why do we care what everyone else thinks? Why do we listen to the judgments others place on us? And why do we then internalize these judgments and beat ourselves up over it?  I say, unfortunately we have to grow thick skin, and similar to everyone in the world, don't fall into the trap of body image and what we should or shouldn't look like, we are all beautiful in our own way, and just because you don't look a certain way does not mean that you are any less of a man or women.  I mean people get their heads wrapped around a lot of ideas, and there are individuals who are born with both genitalia, so why is it so hard to understand some females have penises and some males have vaginas?
 
 
     I really hope we are moving towards a more 'pansexual' world where people have the same love for everyone.  Where your identity isn't based on what your outside shell shows but who you truly are.
 
 
And with that I leave you with macklemore:
 
 

    
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