Frustration: Living In A World Against You

Last night a friend on Facebook posted an article about the transgender high school senior  Lila Perry from a high school in Missouri. Lila had come out as a transgender girl the prior year, and was required to take a gym class for the credits during her tenure at the school.  She chose to wait until this year (2015), which was her senior year, so that she could use the correct locker room for her gender, which is of course female.  However, due to this many parents threw a fit, and over 150 students walked out of class to protest her using the correct locker room.  This issue has been apparently “resolved” and Lila has been bullied out of taking the class at all despite the fact that her using the appropriate locker room would do nothing to harm anyone else at the school in anyway (some parents have said that she might expose her penis to the girls, but I had to take gym class with using the guy’s locker room growing up and that stuff didn’t even happen there with men who love their penises, I’m 100% sure this would be a non issue like the supposed rape of cis women because of trans women using women’s bathrooms); however, not taking the class or being forced to use the men’s locker room would be absolutely detrimental to Lily.

To put this in layman’s terms over 150 students, and their parents bullied a teenage girl into submission for doing absolutely nothing wrong and hurting absolutely no one.

Now, any person with even the least bit of empathy for other human beings would read that last sentence and be abhorred.  However, once the fact that Lila is a transgender girl has been revealed, many people change their tune and now, suddenly, the teenage girl is the villain and those students and parents are valiant heroes who were standing up against her oppression and tyranny.  At least, this is exactly the song that was sung by a commenter on this article that my friend posted about the subject.

This person came in swinging every single ignorant transphobic argument I have ever heard.  He stated that a transgender girl in the girls locker room would be unsafe for the “real girls” because she might flaunt her penis or sexually assault them.  He argued that even if not, if anyone was uncomfortable even if there was no penis involved or actual reason to be uncomfortable, that trumped the rights of this transgender girl.  When I, and several others, challenged this person on his views he first went on about how transgender people are trying to force our lifestyles on everyone, and this is America where “cis people have rights too, not just trans people.”  Then stated that she was sick in the head and needed help, and he knew this because the Bible told him so.

Literally every backwards and completely with out merit argument that cis people ignorant to trans issues use to demonize us was listed by this person in one rather impressive, albeit bigoted go.

Yet, the worst part of it was that when he finally realized that he wasn’t going to convince me or other trans people that he was right, he said that he would “agree to disagree.”

So, what is wrong with him wanting to agree to disagree?  After all, people do have the rights to their opinions no matter how backwards, asinine, and baseless they may be.

Well, here is the issue.  When under privileged people “agree to disagree” with the privileged majority who is oppressing them, that is consequentially the same as losing.  If we look back at slavery, every slave probably disagreed with slavery.  Obviously.  That system was a horrid system to imprison a human being and force them into servitude for another human being for no other reason than the color of their skin.  We know this now.  But, at the time, many people, especially in the regions where slavery was legal and in practice, thought it was perfectly fine, and even benefited from slavery.

Of course slaves I’m sure were not allowed to speak back to or argue with their “masters” with out facing extreme punishment, but if they were or if a free person who was against slavery were to argue on their behalf, the conversation would have probably gone similarly.  The pro slavery party would make up arguments of why slavery is a good thing with no basis in reality, and be faced with facts by their opposition of why slavery is a bad thing.  But, with no legal recourse to be taken, in the end if that slave owner decided to “agree to disagree” the slaves would still be slaves and nothing would change.

This is exactly what happened to me last night, and what is happening to many people who are a member of an underprivileged group all over the world.  Whether it be from the way Saudi Arabian men make every decision for their women and decide their rights to the #BlackLivesMatter movement closer to home, oppressed people are simply flung away by the privileged majority when they become an inconvenience, and since these people don’t have proper representation in government or raw numbers, there is little they can do about it.  In fact, this treatment is why #BlackLivesMatter started in the first place because black people are being murdered by police, and in general as well, and often treated like second class citizens and the majority when asked to help ignored their pleas.

That is what happens.  If someone else’s problem is not important to the majority, or seen as an inconvenience to them like a trans girl wanting to use the right locker room or black people wanting police to be held accountable for killing unarmed black people, the majority doesn’t have to fight it.  They are the majority.  They win by default if it becomes a stalemate, because they hold the power and in any stalemate nothing will change meaning that the oppressed will lose and suffer for it.

This is of course utterly and completely frustrating.  The feeling of seeing members of a group you belong to suffer and be oppressed simply because they are a member of that group is the epitome of frustration.  Living in a world that is often against oneself and being whisked off to the side like a neglected dog begging for a walk while its master is watching the game when important issues are brought up is physically painful.  I’m not exaggerating with that.  The frustration I feel in these situations actually hurts in my chest, and there is little I can do about it.

Of course that does not mean that oppressed people should give up because no one will ever listen or care.  There are those who do listen and care, people who are true allies.  And, oppressed people have made change over time, sometimes very quickly.  But, such change can not easily come when one side refuses to play the game.

The Truth About Transgender People

My name is Julie Langston.
I am twenty seven year old woman who is doing the best that she can at life. I live with my fiance who has been together with me for about 2 and a half years now. We moved in together a little faster than we probably should have – after being together for only six months, which I suppose is a bit cliché for a lesbian couple, but it happens. I’m glad to say it worked out and we are very happy together, and I would not trade my fiance for anything.

We rent a one bedroom apartment in Denver. Not quite in the down town area that most people think of as Denver, but still in the actual city rather than the suburbs. Just last month we renewed our lease for another year, and it was the first time in my adult life that I was financially able to renew the lease. It’s a nice area with a lot of families, and I really do hope that one day my fiance and I will be able to start a family of our own.

We have two pets – a cat with blue eyes and a color point fur pattern which I have had for over 3 years now, and a baby albino rabbit which we adopted from a friend about a month ago. They are my babies, and I love them to death, always trying to play with them, pet them, and feed them treats. They keep me company most of the time as I work from home as an accounting assistant, but I am hoping with hard work and by doing a good job I can be promoted to full time junior accountant and get a position in the office itself.

My typical day consists of making coffee and taking care of the pets food, if they need anything from the night before. Then logging into work for a while to get a few days of reports reconciled and posted. After this is usually when I take my shower, do my make up, and get officially dressed for the day. I really do like make up. For a while I would not ever leave the house with out it, but now half the time if I’m not doing anything I’ll ignore it. It has become a bit of a hobby for me now along with writing and playing the massively multiplayer online role playing game, Final Fantasy XIV in which I main a black mage, and my fiance mains a summoner – both casting classes with different focuses and strengths.

About 5 days out of the week my fiance or I will cook dinner. We both enjoy cooking, so it’s rarely an argument of who has to cook rather than who gets to. On days where neither of us feel like cooking, and we have the money to, we will go out for food. Usually fast food, but we prefer pho when possible. Pho is the best.

I’m fortunate to say that overall my health is good. I do suffer from a medical condition which I have to take daily pills and a weekly injection to treat, but overall I am well, and if I was a religious woman, which I’m not, I would say I am blessed.

We have friends, though we don’t hang out that often anymore due to adult life and schedules. Most of my social activity is online or over the phone, and one could say I’m a bit of a hermit. But, I do love to hang out with friends on those rare occasions where the stars line up and we all have the time to meet in person.

While I don’t believe in god, I do have a very strong sense of right and wrong. My morals are based on experience and observation of the world. And, I believe strongly in treating all people with dignity, respect, and to guarantee all people the same freedoms and rights. Therefore I am a feminist, and try to work to spread education through blogging.

Oh, and there is one other detail about my life. I am transgender.

This means that I was assigned male at birth, and grew up as a boy. However, my brain did not (and does not) match my tid-bits as most people’s do. So, from a very young age I wanted to be a girl. ‘Wanted’ is actually a bit of an understatement. I felt in my heart truly I was female, and that I should be female. To have to live as a boy gave me extreme depression and dysphoria. Up until pre adolescence this feeling was mild. But, when puberty was about to come and I realized that I was not going to go through female puberty, my gender dysphoria came out full strength.

Though I did try to tell my parents about my feelings, they would not let me live as myself. Leading to me being extremely depressed during my teenage years, on top of having the usual teenage angst and social awkwardness. But, when I became an adult I decided to transition and live as myself, as a woman, full time.

Now that’s simply who I am. Julie, a woman like any other. I don’t own boys clothes anymore, that sort of thing is way in my past. I don’t keep contact with anyone who called me by my dead name or pronouns either. I have to take female hormone supplements, but that’s not exactly abnormal as many women with hormonal conditions or who are post menopausal take these medications. When it comes to gender divisions such as using the bathroom or if for whatever reason a room is split between men and women, I go with the women’s (and on that note, no anti trans bathroom bill will ever stop me from doing so).

Now, to my point. If I had not told you, the reader, that I was trans (assuming that you hadn’t figured it out before hand from my other blog posts or the blog description), would you have ever guessed that based on the initial information I presented to you about my life? Probably not. You would have just taken this information and probably thought I was a pretty normal woman living a fairly dull life. Which is exactly what I am, and many of you will just accept the information that I am trans along with that.

Unfortunately, however, a large number of people would read the same and disregard every single prior point to when I stated that I am transgender. They would have thrown out every time I addressed myself as a woman and replaced it with ‘man’. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t lived as a man for years and that when I did I still identified and thought as female. To those people, that would all be disregarded simply because of the parts I was born with.

That is awful.

That mindset is so sickening and backwards. That a human being with a full life and personality can just be disregarded by so many people because of an arbitrary trait. Would anyone know that I was assigned male at birth? No. Even if one presumed it, they wouldn’t know that. They wouldn’t know what parts I was born with or what parts I have now because it is none of their business. And it really isn’t.

Who else gets questioned and chastised on their parts in their day to day life? I won’t say no one, because that’s a generalization I can’t make, but I can definitely say it’s not a normal part of life for most people. Yet, for myself, and the millions of other transgender people on the planet, it is part of our daily existence.

We are harassed, questioned, misgendered, and bullied simply because of that one fact. The rest of us are ignored, thrown to the wayside because to some people none of that matters. Just how we were born, and it is sick and twisted. How people can be so shallow is beyond my understanding.

Let me make this clear: I may be transgender, but I am a woman first and foremost, and a human being worthy of dignity and respect for my life and identity before that. All transgender people are human beings worthy of dignity and respect for themselves and their identities. Sure, some trans people are bad people, just like every other group has bad people. But, like every other group they are a minority among us. The vast majority of us are like me, flawed, but overall decent, normal people.

That is the truth about transgender people.

That we are people, and that we should be treated as such. And, that includes respecting our identities, presentation, pronoun choices, and of course the fact that regardless of who we were in life before, we are who we are now, and that is what matters.