Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Two Worlds

Not the “haves and have nots” world but rather those who can integrate in society and those who cannot, they live in two different worlds. For some transitioning is easy while those who cannot fit into a gender binary world are marginalized.

I came across an article in Colorlines that contrasted the world of Laverne Cox and Islan Nettles,
Cox was lifted up as a reflection of mainstream progress; finally, queer and transgender people had been accepted in American culture. But if Cox is a reflection of mainstream progress in LGBT communities, she’s also a reflection of those left stranded in America’s economic and cultural margins. When she served as Grand Marshall at this year’s New York City Pride Parade, she rode in a car alongside Dolores Nettles, mother of Islan, a 21-year-old transgender woman who was beaten to death in Harlem last year. The investigation into Nettles’ death has stalled and her killer remain at large, a frighteningly common scenerio [sic] for many transgender women of color who find themselves victims of hate crimes. The odds are still stacked markedly against queer and trans people of color: sky-high unemployment rates, harassment, disease and murder are still stubborn facts of life. So while there are many examples of LGBT visibility in America — think sports stars like Brittney Griner and Michael Sam, musicians like Angel Haze and Frank Ocean — visibility alone has not often led to the chance to live safe, equitable lives.
Life is much easier for those who fit into the binary, they are more likely to find work, they are more likely to find a partner, and they are less likely to be victims of violence. However, those who do fit into the gender binary are also more likely to victims of violence if their past is discovered.

On Tuesday when I was at the UConn Health Center doing outreach one of the 2nd year med students asked the question “Do you think it has gotten better for transgender people?” My answer was “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” that for those who can integrate into society it is the best of times but for those who are marginalized by society it is the worst of times.

Just look at what happened the other day to the two gay men in Philadelphia who were set upon by a mob. They were holding hands when they were questioned if they were gay by some of the people in the group; it was because they didn’t fit into the normative. Even with all the progress the LGBT community has made; there are still those in society who want to push back and force us back into the closet.

It is the best of times until you step out of bounds.

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I will once again be doing an outreach this afternoon at a local medical college so there will be no afternoon post.

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