Monday, April 8, 2013

Invisible Again

I'm telling you, this Women's Studies class has the capacity to drive me insane sometimes.  We're doing interviews as part of our final project and I have decided to interview my fabulous Aunt Melanie, who is also trans and a good friend and mentor.  We were discussing our interviews and another girl is also interviewing a trans woman, though for very voyeuristic reasons.  This isn't a friend of her's, it's just some girl she found online who's willing to be interviewed.  I sat as she wondered out loud about this trans girl, as she marveled at how "you would never know" and puzzled about her sexuality.  It was so uncomfortable, so irritating that I came out right there, just so I could hopefully make it stop.  This is something I have never done at TWU because I just didn't want to act as an ambassador all the time, but I couldn't let the ignorance continue.

And yet, it did continued.  It was as if I had never even spoke.  Is she really trans if she hasn't had bottom surgery?  She had a girlfriend when she was 12 before she came out, so does that mean she's bi?  I think she's had a boob job, but I'm not sure.  Here I am, preparing to discuss issues about cissexual privilege, transgender oppression, and the ignorance of trans identities, and it is staring me right in the face.  This is the "enemy".  A well-meaning girl who has no idea just how hurtful her words are.  And the fact that I took a big risk in coming out and that was completely ignored is just bizarre.  It's as though she refused to see me as trans, like she just blocked those sentences of mine out of her memory so that she could hold on to her ignorance and marvel at this freak of nature from a distance.  I was looking her right in the face and it made no difference. 

I can handle haters and outright discrimination.  Those are straight-forward fights.  But dealing with the "I'm just trying to understand" people who mean well but refuse to think before they speak, refuse to empathize with trans people, refuse to think even for a minute what it must be like to walk in our shoes before they start gawking at us.  This is the problem behind movies like Transamerica, which only cis people seem to enjoy and get irritated when trans people point out the (many) flaws.  Ignorance is forgivable.  We're all ignorant of many things before we learn about them.  But this kind of willful ignorance, where someone refuses to even entertain the idea of being respectful, is the worst kind of oppression.  If someone shouts "tranny" at me, I can deal with it.  I just give them the finger, tell them to suck my dick, and move on with my day.  But when somebody is offended at you being offended, there's nowhere you can go with them.  But someone ignoring or pretending I'm not trans is just bizarre.  I feel like in something she did so casually, my identity was erased for half an hour.  I don't even know how to begin that fight.
Don't mind me.  I'll just sit here while you spout crap about my people.

1 comment:

  1. Talk to your professor, this is unacceptable and disgusting. You teacher needs to adress this to your classmates. I have read about teachers successfully teaching trans issues/lives to cis people and obviously they need more education. Here is a article about a successful attempt here

    If they do not try to help you in anyway and are indifferent, then go to their dean/head of department and start raising shit. Get your schools LGTBTIQA group involved if there is one.

    Of course, if it were up to me they would all be expelled for being shitty students. Reminds me when some girls slut shammed a character in a FOURTH level class. How do these people even get into university.