Chances are if you’re reading this then you’re somewhat familiar with the frightening statistics of trans women being murdered, the fact that it’s increasing not just in number but in frequency, that with four months of the year left the figures in America are already higher than the whole of 2014.
Even before the figures reached the numbers that they’re currently sitting on the trans community have been saying that things have been getting worse for a while. We’ve been calling it a state of emergency for months. But in all that time we’ve been ignored. The statistics have been swept under the carpet and our thousands of voices have been silences. The media doesn’t want to know.
If anything, the media have been making things worse for our community. They’ve been reporting our victims with incorrect names and pronouns, refusing to acknowledge them as their true gender. We’ve been vilified, the past of murder victims poured over for any ting infraction in their past to paint them in a poor light. The media doesn’t want to know, but when it has been getting involved they’ve been working against the community.
Today seems to be different though, all I’ve been seeing is headlines about the ‘State of Emergency‘ that the transgender community is going through. Great, the media finally heard us and has started to tell our story. Oh, wait, it’s only because a celebrity has said the same thing.
Okay, yes, the celebrity in question is Laverne Cox, and I’m not having a go at her in any way because I think not only is she a great actress but she’s doing great things for the trans community. No, my problem is with the media, which is really ironic for someone in the media to say but please bear with me here.
My issue is this, if thousands of transgender and gender non-conforming people are taking to social media to say that things are at the worst we’ve seen in a long time, that our people are dieing in the streets why are our points ignored until a celebrity says the same thing?
It’s not just this time either, a few weeks ago the trans community began to campaign against the new Stonewall film for whitewashing and ciswashing history. We were called complainers, troublemakers, idiots and a whole host of much worse words, but we weren’t listened to, then I saw news sites being to change their tune when celebrities began to say the same thing as us, especially cis celebrities such as Mara Wilson. Mara Wilson herself even questioned as to why her opinion on the matter was even considered to be ‘news’.
Once again, why were tens of thousands of trans women saying something that made the media either ignore us or label us as ‘bad people’, yet as soon as a celebrity joined the fight suddenly our cause might have a bit of weight to it?
Because without backing the trans community is looked at as ‘crazy’. We cause a fuss about nothing, our views are strange and pointless unless a famous person gives us a seal of approval. Even our cis allies get ignored until that point that a celebrity starts singing the same tune.
The trans community don’t just kick up a fuss about nothing, our history gets erased, our health care is denied to us, our right to use the bathroom is fought over, our people are being killed. These aren’t petty little squabbles that should be brushed off and ignored until someone with a louder voice joins us. If tens of thousands of people are saying something, you need to start paying attention to what they are saying.
If it wasn’t the trans community going through this the media would be reporting it a hell of a lot more, but because it’s us we’ve got to wait until someone on TV gives us the thumbs up before our points are even considered.
Trans people are getting more of the spotlight than we have in the past, but we’re sure as hell not being listened to or respected yet. Far from it.