My Twitter feed has been brutal tonight! One of my dear sisters is being evicted from her home by a transphobic landlord. People are hurting and anxious. People can’t sleep.
…and another of my dear sisters is at war with everyone.
Being a person without cis-priviledge is hard. At many times, it can feel like the entire world is in on some fantastically elaborate plan to harm us. What I regret so deeply is that many of us get so used to the fight, that we know no other way.
Such was the case tonight, when an ally was coming to the community to be affirmed for her work on Trans* Awareness Week as part of her college’s LGBTQIA+ alliance. When someone performs an act of service, there is a sort of implied exchange. This ally was wanting to be thanked in return for her work. Gratitude is a very reasonable exchange, and many of us were happy to give it.
But, surely as I sit here, there seems to always be someone who wants a fight. So, my dear sister brought her fight to the doorstep of our ally. She took exception to the ally’s choice of the word “nifty” to describe the work she was doing. My dear sister did not believe that word should be included anywhere in a conversation which also addressed transphobia and violence.
To be clear, in no possible interpretation was the ally saying that violence was nifty. But my dear sister, presumably so deeply entrenched in fighting with every person and every institution, in public and in private, each day and each night scolded and bullied the poor ally in such a way as to bring shame on us all.
In this world, there are those who need to be thanked for their help and solidarity…
There are those needing gentle and kind corrections of their misconceptions…
And, yes, there are those who deserve the full weight of our refusal to back down.
As a marginalized group, we must pay close attention to which person we are addressing at any given time. Know your history, my loves. While progress is moving more swiftly than at any other time, we remain in the Booker T. Washington part of our fight. We must not prove ourselves to be as our detractors portray us. We must use our lives to embody the best in our community.
It is an unfair burden, to be sure. But when you open your mouth to speak, do so knowing that you hold the power to make life better or worse for every other person like you. Speak of love for the oppressed. Speak not of hate for the oppressor. Unleash the deep humanity of forgiveness, in all its transformative power. See in your oppressor the potential for compassion.
…and yes, if they fail to provide such compassion, demand it!
Demand it until the last vile drop of this sickening hatred and fear is driven from our good world.
Care for yourselves, care for one another, and make love your weapon of choice.