Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ally Issues

It's difficult for me, being an ally.

A friend recently told me how good it was to see me blogging about "gay and trans issues" even though they don't affect me. Ze's not the only one, either, since another friend, in a meme, said one of the things that reminded her of me was "transgender issues".

The only reason why I can see myself giving them this impression is that I wrote quite a bit on Angie Zapata's case. And even then, I didn't cover it as extensively as I could have. Partly because I didn't know what to say that wasn't already said. Partly because I tend to follow a lot of other things and I sort of rely on the blogs I read to give me the news I want.

I've only ever known one transgendered person in person. I don't know where she is now. We were never close, but we spoke when we encountered each other, and would move seats on the bus to sit together if we encountered each other there. One time we even walked together. She saw a shooting star. She was soft-spoken, and more feminine than myself. But then, she would have to be, wouldn't she, in order to pass for the gender she wanted to be? =/ And me, being cis-gendered and all, that was one thing I didn't have to worry about.

And I write about the case of one transgendered person and suddenly people are associating me with fighting for this cause, which I hadn't realized I'd been actively fighting for. Because I don't really see myself as really fighting for trans issues. I write occasionally about trans issues because these are things that I have a reaction to. Transpeople are invisible people among invisible people. Of course I sympathize with that. Who wouldn't? (Unless you're chockful of privilege which allows you to ignore how everyone else is invisible whenever you're around.)

I can't even begin to explain how I'm not even good enough of an ally. Duanna Johnson? I read one or two articles, but I can't begin to tell you the details. I know many transwomen die. I know that less than 1% of cases of murdered transpeople really come to light and appear in court, in the past 30 years. (OK, that might be a wrong statistic, but my memory is faulty like that.) I know ciswomen regularly ignore transwomen's issues, because they themselves feel threatened by the "male" aspect of transwomen (Michigan's Women Fest, for example).

I could be doing so much more to point out how the trans community faces the worst stigmatization of all the queer minority groups. =/ But I guess my issue is, I don't know if I really know what it takes to be a real ally, and even if I did, chances are I wouldn't have the chops to really do it.

I'm not saying I'm not going to try, but I think I should get started on it.

1 comment:

  1. Tsk tsk, keep writing thoughtful, kind and touching potss and people are going to think you're an ally.

    You commented on the mini troll infestation on that one thread of mine, so I won't bother linking you there. But this is exactly why people think you're an ally. 'Cause on threads where I intimate that allies should do or know certain things, I invariably get people demanding to be known as an "ally" even if they don't know or do those things.

    Most people outside of the trans community apparently didn't/don't know about Angie Zapata, so you writing a post outs you as someone who actually tries to pay attention to our lives. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete