Friday, June 10, 2016

There Was Something Bother Me With This…

And I couldn’t put my finger on it until last night.

At the LGBT Moveable Senior Center last night they had a guest lecturer who talked about the her history for the fight for LGBT rights and that was the clue to what was bothering me with this article.
Why Equality Is Toxic to the Transgender Movement
Huffington Queer Voices
By Eli Erlick
June 9, 2016

In an era of unprecedented visibility, the transgender community is at a crossroads. Do we work transgender people into current systems such as education and the military or do we work to significantly transform these structures and society as a whole? While the majority of media attention has gone towards integrating trans people into the dominant culture, is this the right decision for the community? Many activists, scholars, and community members say no.

I came out as transgender at the age of eight, to a rural community that was not ready to support me. During the next five years, I experienced constant harassment, isolation, and assault. You might think that as someone who has had this experience, I am excited to see hate crime legislation popping up all over the United States. On the contrary, it frightens me. Hate crime laws are framed as initiatives that will end attacks on transgender people, making them “equally” protected under the law. In reality, this legislation is another cisgender issue pushed by neoliberal politicians to further expand prisons and prevent real change.
What hit me last night is that we are not trying to “equally” protect us under the law but rather trying to stop violence against us. When someone commits a hate crime it is not about the physical assault against us that they are being tried for but rather it is to intimidate a community. A hate crime is not targeted against the individual but rather everyone in that community, so it has nothing to do with equality.

The she goes on to say the hate crime laws are supposed to be a deterrent to crime,
Hate crime legislation does nothing to protect trans people. Instead, it only increases sentencing for offenders. Is doubling a 7-year sentence going to deter crime? Statistically, the answer is no. Hate crime laws do not look at the roots of the problem, including systemic racism and transphobia. Individualizing the problem by sending one person to prison does very little for our community as a whole and does not work within a restorative justice framework.
And that is true, but it is true of all criminal laws, they are not designed for reforming the criminal justice system, they are to punish offenders.
We do not just want the same access to a clearly broken education system as our cisgender peers. We are committed to educating our communities and the public on transgender issues, which will significantly decrease victimization for all trans people.
Also very true… but the non-discrimination laws are not meant to reform the education or criminal justice systems, they are to get us access to them. Whether they are broken or not is another story; that is not the purpose of the non-discrimination laws. Laws like Connecticut School Climate laws that are intended to bring about a cultural shift in the ways schools and communities deal with bullying and harassment and how to improve the learning environment.

She is also right in that the way to bring about change is through education. Many of the problems that we face are because most people have no understanding about trans people. Most people have had no interactions with trans people that they know of, and that is the key “that they know of” we have to be more visible.

I think us as a community is also going through a cultural shift. At one time only trans people who could integrate into society could transitions but now healthcare providers are realizing that there are all types of trans people and that is creating a new paradigm with trans people who don’t want to be “male” or “female” but rather their own blend of gender.

It is as the Rev. Martin Luther King said,
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.
The non-discrimination laws are not to change the system but rather to restrain those who would discriminate against.

Right now I am down at Seven Falls State Park with the town's senior center's photo club on a photo shoot. 

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