I have heard many transgender people complain that when it comes to the human rights campaign for equal rights in the LGBT community that the "T" is in fact silent and often gets ignored or overlooked by other members of the LGBT(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. The lesbian and Gay part of our community has enjoyed tremendous strides in the areas of marriage and human rights in our part of the world and continues to do so. In North American marriage equality is fast becoming the norm in state after state as well as the whole of Canada and some parts of Europe. This is the most wonderful and fantastic progress that humanity has made in quite some time. Bisexuals are gaining notoriety and acceptance in the media as one after another sports figure or walk of the mill person comes out to the public. The chains are being broken and true freedom is coming to fruition, for the LGB's.
So where does that leave the transgender(T) people? Are they also making strides towards acceptance in our societies and therefore facing less discrimination than previous generations to transmen and women? Or are they stuck where they have always been, the bottom rung of our society, free game for anyone to ridicule and misjudge in the media? You need only look at the myriad of times that the press misgenders transmen and women while reporting their usually gruesome death; or how many times transwomen in particular have been exploited for their appearance as a way to garnish a laugh from the sheeple. You don't have to look far to find out that transgender people are falling behind in the movement towards equal rights for all. Often being dropped from LGBT legislation in order to smooth the passage of bills that might otherwise garner attention as "bathroom bills".
Credit: www.facebook.com/James CridlandSo who is responsible and why are we being left behind? The rest of the LGBT community is making tremendous strides, so why not the transgender people as well? The conclusion a lot of transwomen and men have come to, the one I find most often in the forums, is that the rest of the LGBT community is not doing enough for us. They are concentrating only on their own issues and ignoring the needs of the transgender population. They abandon the transgender community again and again in public and private campaigns for equality. They just don't care, they...they...they.. Others put forward that the "T" should not even be in the LGBT community because it's about gender identity and not sexual orientation as the LGB so clearly represent. That transgender people should be held separate and distinct from the rest of the LGBT movement. After all why not, they are not helping us anyway...
But they are helping us in ways that we cannot apparently see and understand. By bringing attention and awareness of their plight to the general population they bring attention and awareness on to the transgender population as well; however little that may be it is more than we usually get, besides the usual stereotypes and ridicule. Which I may add also comes from the LGB community towards transgender people. However by bringing awareness to our plight we are actually one step closer to our goal of total and complete equality the world over. Here are just a few ways being part of the LGBT community helps out transgender people.
- Bringing attention to our cause
- Letting us come to the table with our issues (they don't actually have to you know)
- Listening to our issues and allowing us to participate in their awareness campaign
- By including us they have become part of our larger (dysfunctional) family and there is at least some feeling of solidarity within the LGBT community. Imagine where we would be if we were left out.
There are many more ways that being part of the LGBT family helps us out regardless of the "T" being silent. But why is the "T" silent? Why are we falling behind in the movement towards equality and why don't we get proper recognition in the media? The answer is quite simple, it's because WE are SILENT! The transgender community in general is placing its power into the hands of the LGB community and then asking for recognition and help! Of course LGB people are not going to advocate for our issues if they do not understand or are even aware of them. They have their own issues to deal with and it's up to us to deal with our own. It's up to us as transgender people to bring up our own issues; making sure they are heard and heeded. We must advocate for ourselves if we are going to get anywhere towards equality and inclusion. No one is going to stand for us so we must stand for ourselves!
- Making sure the "T" is not silent and never let it be so.
- Stop placing the blame into the hands of others
- Stop expecting others to do for us what we should be doing ourselves
- Put down petty differences and work together to bring awareness and education to your local community.
- Run for public office as a transgender candidate
- Start a transgender advocacy blog or web site
- Working together as one cohesive force driving towards the goal of total and complete equality
These are just some of the way that we can put the power over our fate back into the hands of the transgender community. Little by little and step by step we will get there one day; future generations of transgender people will not have to endure the hardships and discrimination that our generation is plagued with. They will enjoy equal right not only under the law, but in the hearts and minds of every person on earth! We will get the respect we deserve by not letting the "T" go silent.