Saturday, April 30, 2011
What The Light Reveals
For the most part, the response to the video was positive. Even those who were outraged at what happened did so from a place of support. But something else began to emerge that was disturbing. Racism and Transphobia again reared there ugly heads...except this time it wasn't coming from outside the GLBT community...but from those who claim to be within a community that should know dam well what discrimination feels like and have sense enough not to do it to anyone else.
The video of the beating, having gone viral, was on nearly every blog imaginable and echoed around the YouTube universe with blinding speed. As the comments began to fill up it became clear that the conversation had turned to blaming the attack on Crissy Polis on the race of the two girls who attacked her. There were some comments that went beyond the pale and turned out stomachs to read them such as those referring to the Two girls as "apes"....this comment left by someone who identified themselves as a lesbian mind you.
Now...nearly a week later, most of the comments have either been removed by YouTube, or the person who posted them but the evidence of the battle remains. Many people both White and Black have left statements of shock and disbelief that this attack is being attributed to the fact that these girls are African-American...and not to the fact that what they did was a simple act of cruelty. One act of discrimination is being met with another act of discrimination that is no less ugly than what these two girls did to Crissy. It is no wonder that some of the comments left in response were tearful expressions of frustration.
Additionally, several people who claim to be gay made comments that Crissy had brought this on herself by virtue of trying to live as a woman. As if she should hide who she feels she really is. "If only she hadn't tried to use the womens room", was something we heard many times and many times those comments come from those who identified themselves as gay. As someone who has lost a good trans friend to suicide due to the pressures society puts on trans people this just pisses me off.
So as we move forward in asking the world to see us as human beings...not as gay human beings...just as human beings asking to be treated with the same level and respect as is accorded to straight human beings....do we have the courage to look at ourselves and ask where we may not be affording someone else that same treatment? Can we talk about race and/or trans issues without the conversation devolving into heated exchanges of name calling? Can we admit that maybe we still need to learn a thing or two?...I had to admit how much I did not know about Trans issues and face my own squeamishness about altering our bodies in such a major way. I needed to learn the difference between the outward expression of gender and the soul That was not a lesson I thought I needed to learn....Being gay I thought I had it down. It took the suffering of a good friend for me to realise that maybe I wasn't anywhere near as open minded as I thought I was. My friend Carina blew the doors off my ideas of what it meant to be trans and I miss her very much.