Friday, May 18, 2012
Hop Against Homophobia/Transphobia: Day Two: What's The Point?
What's the point?
So, you're straight....
Wouldn't it be safer if you just lived as a female?
Aren't you really lying to people?
I know you consider yourself to be a man...
Not like you, but you know, real men...
No offense but I don't think transgenders really exist, you know, like I think they're just a bunch of lesbians and gays who can't handle being lesbian or gay and still want to be considered straight...
I'm an advocate for gay and lesbian rights, but I don't really consider transgenders to be in the same category....
But you could pass. Why would you choose to make things more difficult for yourself?
What's the point?
What's the point?
What's the point?
Yesterday I spoke about homophobia and transphobia in a broad sense, but I started off the post with some of the statements that my friends and I had made over the years. Yesterday was really about homophobia and transphobia from the outside of the community. Today I'm talking about homophobia and transphobia (most specifically transphobia and some bisexualphobia) when it comes from inside of the GLBTQ community. The thing is we can't hope to educate those on the outside when we're still bickering, fighting and tearing each other apart on the inside.
All of the statements above were made by people within the GLBTQ community...to me, all except one. "What's the point?" Was a question asked about me to someone else, but it's the one that keeps rattling around inside of my head without fail.
What's. The. Point?
I think the reason that question sticks out so much is because this person is speaking as if being transgender is a choice and isn't that just completely backwards? If we can acknowledge that being gay and lesbian is something that people are born being, then how is being transgender any different? For that matter, how is being bisexual different?
Growing up as a kid I always hung around the boys. I wore hats and shorts (I lived in the South-it gets hot down there), sat with my legs open, watched sports and had absolutely no interest in girlie things like nails, hair, Barbie, pink or planning my own wedding. Guy friends always called me one of the guys and more than once I was told that I was more guy than girl. However, no one ever told me that I was transgender. I got called a tomboy, got told it was a phase (that still hasn't ended apparently), or got called a slut.
That's right. Because apparently I only did those things to get boys interested in me.
Living in the South and always feeling like something was just off and wrong about myself, I didn't have a lot of options to try to explore what the issue was. I knew that I felt much more comfortable when I dressed like one of the guys, when I wasn't referred to by feminine pronouns and when people would call me V or Vic. I was butch. I was a beer drinking, sports watching, home renovating, cooking, vehicle enthusiast, strap-on wearing....something. Because I cringed when people called me female, Miss, Ms, she, or her. I'd smile and nod, but on the inside I died a little each time.
But I didn't hear about transgenders growing up. I heard about butch lesbians. Women who dressed and acted like men, even had male names, but who dated females. Hhhhmmm....well that was sort of me, but not really. I mean, I wasn't attracted to females. I was attracted to men...very attracted to men, but the men I was attracted to were usually bisexual men or gay men or straight men who liked to be fucked and liked to fuck me in the ass.
Which was totally fine because when I thought about having sex that's how it worked for me. So I wasn't a butch lesbian. I like women just fine, but I didn't want to date them and I didn't want to have sex with them.
My coming out and realization of my truth was slow coming. I had friends who called me Vic for years and it never dawned on me what they were trying to tell me.
When I finally came out, I expected my birth family to react badly, so I wasn't surprised by it. However, last November when the emails started coming through, the DMs on Twitter, the messages on FB and on Goodreads, when I started to get hate mail and experiencing transphobia from people whose profiles read like they were the biggest supporters of GLBTQ rights and as if they were advocates for the rainbow group/the alphabet soup, I was floored.
Aren't they supposed to be on my side? I mean, I'm not just transgender. I'm gay too. But even if I was only transgender and identified as straight, they do remember that there's a T in GLBTQ right?
I didn't know how to respond at first, but I figured that they just needed to be educated. Because there's a difference between being uninformed and being phobic. So I answered the emails.
No, I don't consider myself to be a man. I AM a man. Biology messed up, not God. I was born to be a boy, born to be a man. It's what makes me a happy. It's what makes sense to me. Much like when conjoined twins are born with a mistake biologically, that's what happened to me.
I am a real man, I'm just a man with removable genitalia.
No, I'm not straight. I'm a man who is attracted to men. I'm gay.
I'm not some secret lesbian. If I were a lesbian, then I'd be a lesbian, without having to go through the effort of becoming a man. I'm a man.
Yes, it would be easier if I stayed a woman, because I am aware that if I did so it wouldn't be too long before I'd end up making a huge mistake and committing suicide because I'm not a woman, I'm a man and if I tried to go back to living a lie again, I'd give up. I can admit that weakness in myself.
I'm not lying to anyone. I tell people that I'm transgender and explain what that means. It's up to them to listen and understand.
How can you be an advocate for gay rights but not transgenders? How are we not in the same category? When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched for equality he didn't march towards Washington and say "We march for blacks only, not for women and not for gays." He said that he marched for equality for all. Gays are discriminated against because of who they love, transgenders are discriminated against because of who they ARE...why do you think that means that transgenders aren't in the same category to be advocated?
Nobody chooses to make things more difficult for themselves. I didn't wake up one morning and decide to be transgender, black and gay for shits and giggles. Being in the South, being Caribbean, those things are a death warrant. I could have been, would have been killed for identifying the way that I do. Who would choose that? That's like saying that I chose to be black. I had no choice in the matter. Why would I choose to be a part of a culture that gets discriminated against daily? Why would I choose to have a skin color, to come from a heritage where certain people look at me and automatically think the worst of me? Think I'm a criminal or on welfare or that I'm ignorant, uneducated. That I'm loud and rude and have major attitude. Why would I choose to come from a heritage and a culture of slavery? Choose to be of a race of people who have to work twice as hard to be seen as equal? So if I couldn't and didn't choose to be black, why would I choose to be transgender and gay?
With those emails I thought that it would end, but it didn't. When I started to get emails telling me to "go away," and telling me that I "don't exist," well, it got a little more difficult to breathe. How was I supposed to hold my head up out in front of the transphobes and homophobes in society, out in the world, when I couldn't even retreat into the community for support and shelter, when I was being attacked on all sides?
So what's the point? Why am I transgender? Why do I identify as gay when I could tell people that I'm female and be straight?
Because it's my truth.
Because I am not a mistake.
Because I was born this way.
Because there's absolutely nothing wrong with being transgender.
So on day two of the Hop Against Homophobia I want all of you to think about that question. What's the point? Why are we blogging? Why are we taking a stand against homophobia and transphobia? Why should you take a stand? Why should we make sure that we support each other, everyone in the community: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, if we ever hope to be able to truly see change out in the world?
"A house divided cannot stand."
We can't be divided. We have to support all sides of this rainbow/alphabet house if we want it to stand. We have to water all sides of the tree if we want it to grow and truly flourish.
We have to support everyone if we want to show the world that we're deserving of support.
That's the point. I'm a black, transgender, gay man, because I was born a black gay man even if biology put me in the wrong body.
That's the point. I'm attracted to men. I want to have sex with men, I want men to have sex with me. Gay sex (and I could be really graphic here and describe all the things that I want to do to and with said gay men...but I won't).
That's the point. Because not living my truth is living a lie and I don't want to live a lie. I lived a lie for years.
That's the point. That's why I'm taking a stand. That's why I'm hopping. And that's why I hope you'll join with me and the other authors, reviewers, publishers, and people who are hopping against homophobia and transphobia and take that stand with us.
Because it's time for homophobia and transphobia to end. Now.
*Don't forget. If you leave a comment on either of my blogs or on my website (and I'm not just talking about your email) along with your name and email address, you're entered into the contest. At 8pm PST (which is 12am May 21st EST) on the 20th three people will be chosen from those who commented and left their email (see? This is why you must leave your email) to win. The third place winner will get one of my books, either one from my backlist or any new release that comes out before GRL. The second place winner will get two of my books. And the first place winner will get three of my books as well as a $20 gift card to All Romance ebooks. And don't forget to check out the other hoppers and leave comments there as well. There are a lot of goodies out there and it's all for a good cause. Happy Hopping and commenting!*