Within the Trans community in Australia, there are many voices, many strong opinions and dare I say it many strong egos. A time has come when there has been a universal call for each group to come together and present a unified, cohesive collective of opinion so that we ( the Trans Community in Australia ) are able to put forward our basic demands and determination of our rights. I approached both Indi Edwards and Kelly Glanney to make comment on where we should be at this time. There is no attempt or intention to stifle debate and argument here, but there must be a consensus reached.
At roughly the same time as Indi Edwards was putting her own ideas together, another of our Australian community leaders ( KELLY GLANNEY ), was pitching her own presentation to a conference of ANZPATH in Adelaide. These last few months have been a watershed time for the Trans community in Australia. It was a time when two of our community leaders decided to put aside personal differences for the greater good of the community here. I applaud their move, it shows a maturity within our ranks that we need to demonstrate.
Please click on the link below to view Kelly’s presentation
Q and A put to Indi Edwards on Lateral Hostility 25th April, 2015.
1. What does ” Lateral Hostility ” mean to you
Lateral hostility happens when an individual or individuals bully and oppress their peers from within a community setting rather than one’s true adversaries. In our case being Trans I have always noticed it and regrettably been at both ends of the phenomena. Personally I have had a lot of time to think about mistakes I’ve made in the past and would invite others to ask themselves the same question.
2. How do you see it differing from open debate?
It’s when a debate descends into name calling, victim blaming, vilification and verbal violence. Words hurt, actually words can kill. As a community we cop a lot of hostility from some cis gender folk who don’t understand us or refuse to, however when it comes from your own peers it seems to cut deeper and have a very negative and profound effect on the individual on the receiving end. LH often only ends in community division and isolation for the individual who is being chastised.
3. How has it harmed the Trans(gender) community
Basically it often holds us back from moving forward as a community and at its very worst can cause the victim or victims to feel marginalized within their own peer group and can lead to self-harm and/or suicide. Make no mistake it does happen. The perpetrator is often hurting for their own reasons and may lash out blindly with devastating results. There was a recent example where a notable Trans activist recently told another Trans activist to drink bleach and go kill herself. This was a knee jerk and emotionally driven action that could have had dire results.
4. What do you see as the key drivers of ” LH ” to be. Is it always personal?
I think yes it’s always feels personal and again partially stems from oppression. The oppressed oppressing others or I like to call it “hand me down” oppression. It’s really sad that this is happening in our community however it’s good that we are now having the conversation that needs to be had. We as Trans people are very emotionally invested in our own community. This emotional investment is like a hair-trigger waiting to be pulled.
5. Why have you chosen to speak up about it now?
Personally I’m in a space right now where I am putting aside my feelings towards certain people because we have a huge task ahead and fostering forgiveness and humility will forge a path to a cohesive and better positioned Trans community. If we are to have a “tipping point” we all need to stand back from the elephant in the room being “lateral hostility” as it were and see it for what it is. Often one of the first things that happens to any marginalised and oppressed group of people is they tend to turn in on themselves and eat their own. It’s time we rise above our petty grievances with one another, agree to disagree and begin the process of “getting shit done”.