This has been an amazing week for the LGB community. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has made same-sex marriage a constitutional right across all 50 states, ushering in celebrations across the US and even across the globe. It’s been a historic moment for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people, and I don’t want to take anything away from this massive achievement, but this week has also been pretty shitty for the oft forgotten letter, T.
In the same week that same-sex marriage became a right a transgender woman who established the multiple gender options on Facebook was banned from the site for using ‘the wrong name’, Jannicet Gutierrez, a transgender LGBT Immigrant Rights Activist was ejected from the Whitehouse, the Family Research Council released an official document stating that trans people are mentally ill and need curing. The week before 18 year old Laura Vermont was chased and murdered by police in Sao Paulo, two trans women were jailed in Malaysia simply for existing, Fox news blamed trans people for the shooting in Charleston, the pope officially condemned trans people. I could go on.
In a time where the LGBT community are celebrating a historic moment, amongst hundreds of pride festivals all around the world people are forgetting that it’s not the LGBT community who are succeeding at the moment, it’s the LGB community. Once again the T are being left behind.
Yes, I will admit that things are getting better for us, Laverne Cox has become the first trans woman to become a wax work, and she and Janet Mock are all over the media and magazine covers. Transparent is winning awards and more and more trans characters are being used in film and television as something other than murder victim, sex worker or killers. This is all good, but this is all miles behind the rest of the LGBT community.
The biggest problem though isn’t that things aren’t getting better for the trans community, it’s that they’re not getting better quick enough, and when we call out for help, or try to bring these injustices to light we are often told to be quiet. The same day that same-sex marriage became legal in the us I saw people being tweeted abuse because they were calling for the next goal to be to the benefit of the trans community. They were being told that they were trying to ruin the celebrations, or that they weren’t ‘working with’ the community towards LGBT goals.
But to be honest, are a lot of the LGBT goals beneficial to trans people? Yes, marriage equality is amazing, but why is trans panic still being used as a legitimate defence against murdering transgender people? And why is it still working? Why is it gay, lesbian and bisexual people can serve in the military, yet transgender people face discharge, even if they are war heroes?
Gay and lesbian rights are decades ahead of transgender rights, but every time we ask the rest of our ‘community’ for help we get silenced.
Maybe we’re being too demanding for them, maybe they feel like a group who is about gender shouldn’t be together with groups that are about sexuality, maybe they like having people that they can look down on and feel sorry for because they’re worse off than them. Whatever the reasoning for it this refusal to help trans people needs to end.
Transgender people are dieing. We’re being murdered. We’re killing ourselves. We feel like those outside of the LGBT community don’t support us, and a lot of times it feels like people in the LGBT community don’t either.
It might seem like I’m intentionally being negative, or trying to underplay what was just achieved, but that’s not what I want to do. I love the fact that America has marriage equality, but we need to move on from that celebration onto the next fight, hopefully one that will help the transgender community in a big way.