Monday, October 04, 2010

We Are Not Safe Anywhere.

Europe is usually considered to be ahead of the U.S. when it comes to Human Rights for transgender individuals, however, there was an article on the Transgender Europe web-site…
There is no safe space for Transgender People!

In the night of September 30th two delegates from Turkey of the Third European Transgender Council were attacked by a group of five to seven people when leaving a restaurant. The trans activists have been harassed verbally and subject to physical violence.

“There is no safe space for transgender people in Europe. Last night's attack showed once more that transphobia and racism are not only a problem of certain countries in Europe. Transphobia is everywhere”, says TGEU Vice chair Julia Ehrt.
This mirrors what I wrote the other day about bullying and harassment in schools.
Young argues, “Members of some groups live with the knowledge that they must fear random, unprovoked attacks on their persons or property, which have no motive but to damage, humiliate, or destroy the person”
When I go out, sadly, I always have in the back of my mind about my safety. Woman friends tell me that is normal for them, they are always aware of their surroundings. This is a new experience for me; I have always had male white privilege and the lost of that privilege is very noticeable. In addition, it also illustrates the extreme danger that the trans-community faces because not only do we have to face the hazards women face all the time, but also the dangers that bigotry and hatred that is directed towards the trans-community.

I have been lucky, but I do know others of my brother’s and sister’s who have not been as lucky. One was beating up on the job where she worked and when she complained to the police officer, she was arrested for disorderly conduct. The police officer manhandled a trans-man on a routine traffic stop when he saw that the gender on his license didn’t match his appearance.

I know a friend who was beaten by a group of men and when the police came she didn’t place charges because she feared that she would get arrested. Because it was her word against theirs and also because she was pre-op and she feared being thrown into the male prison.

We need to bring a cultural change to recognize that people are different and we should honor those differences and not punish those who are different. Can you imagine the world would be like if we all looked, dressed and behaved the same… boring!

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