WBEZ | trans 100 http://www.wbez.org/tags/trans-100 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Trans 100 marks the beginning of a 'new era' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-04/trans-100-marks-beginning-new-era-106588 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/r-TRANS100-large570.jpg" title="" /></div><p>It&rsquo;s not often that you get to be a witness to history. I remember sitting and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/first-ever-trans-100-list-spotlights-vital-voices-trans-community-105278">sipping coffee</a>&nbsp;with Jen Richards when she and Toni D&rsquo;Orsay, the Executive Director of&nbsp;<a href="http://thisishow.org/">This Is H.O.W.</a>, began to plan the&nbsp;<a href="http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2013/03/who-will-be-on-initial-trans-100-list.html">Trans 100</a>&nbsp;and the list was a half-remembered dream slowly becoming reality. By the time the poll closed on Dec. 31, the voting pool had collected over 500 nominations, reflecting the diversity and splendor of the trans community.</p><p dir="ltr">When we spoke,&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/joevarisco/jen-richards-trans-100">Richards</a>&nbsp;mentioned that even she hadn&rsquo;t heard of some of the names nominated. She said the experience was like &ldquo;was like being at a party with all of your friends and then realizing there is a whole other room full of their friends whom you haven&rsquo;t met yet.&rdquo; A volunteer-led, community-organized labor of love,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/trans-girl-cross/2013/04/trans-100/">the list</a>&nbsp;took months to pare down to 100.</p><p dir="ltr">Richards hoped this would be a starting point to dialogue about &ldquo;the extraordinary work being accomplished by so many...it&rsquo;s about the whole family.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The final 100 was announced March 31 at Rogers Park&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.maynestage.com/TRANS100.aspx">Mayne Stage</a>&nbsp;in a joyous and tearful celebration. Throughout the&nbsp;<a href="http://chicago.gopride.com/calendar/event.cfm/id/163654">unveiling</a>, host KOKUMO worked to keep the crowd&rsquo;s energy in check. Attendees riotously clapped after almost every name was called out. When Janet Mock (the former People.com editor and founder of Girls Like Us) took the stage, the energy nearly tore down the building.</p><p dir="ltr">In her rousing, inspiring speech, Mock argued that the event was about more than a list. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Inaugural-Trans-100-event-spotlights-advocates-/42184.html">Trans 100</a>&nbsp;is about &ldquo;opening a space to tell [the] stories [of transgender people].&rdquo; Mock said,</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I stand here in awe, because tonight was created for us, by us...I stand here tonight at the intersections of race, gender and sexuality...I am here tonight because of the 99 other names on the inaugural Trans 100 list and the unrecognized thousands who are not on this list whose quiet acts are changing lives.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Mock gave particular recognition to her friend and community leader Angelica Ross and paid tribute to Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, the transformative activists whose work has been an inspiration to so many. &ldquo;We must write the names of those who came before,&rdquo; Mock said.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are actively writing the chapters of our revolution,&rdquo; Mock smiled through a tuft of her trademark curls.</p><p dir="ltr">Mock&rsquo;s presence was a visual testament to what KOKUMO argued in her opening monologue: &ldquo;Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new era.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The official list was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/-Trans-100-list-released-/42288.html">released</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/04/launched-trans-100.html">Tuesday</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2013/04/trans-100-list-unveiled.html">morning</a>&nbsp;to BuzzFeed -- honoring community leaders, activists, lawyers, human rights advocates, health-care providers, non-profit workers and folks across the spectrum of the trans community.</p><p dir="ltr">According to honoree Christina Kahrl, it shows &ldquo;the work [trans people] are capable of doing.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Although I knew I wouldn&rsquo;t know many of the names on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.glaad.org/blog/guest-post-honoring-our-trans-community-activists-trans-100">the list</a>, I was surprised by just how many colleagues and friends were recognized. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.queerty.com/hardworking-trans-americans-honored-in-the-first-ever-trans-100-list-20130409/">Trans 100</a>&nbsp;was overflowing with Chicagoans, from Project Fierce and Trans Oral History Project co-founder Andre Perez to the Transformative Justice Law Project&rsquo;s Owen Daniel McCarter. When McCarter and Bonnie Wade, the Associate Director of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagohouse.org/event_trans100.html">Chicago House</a>&rsquo;s TransLife Center, spoke during the list&rsquo;s presentation, the theater broke into rapturous applause.</p><p dir="ltr">I&rsquo;m often proud to be a Chicagoan, but rarely more proud than when I saw Andy Karol, Van Binfa, Baylie Roth, ellie june navidson, Kate Sosin, Nino Dorenzo, Rebecca Kling and Trisha Lee Holloway honored. I was proud to know that my city counted&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/trans-100-transgender-pioneers_n_3045066.html">more honorees</a>&nbsp;than any other, during a ceremony that brought together&nbsp;<a href="http://elixher.com/black-trans-women-represent-in-trans-100-round-up/">people of color</a>, trans men, trans women, queers, genderqueers, womyn, intersex people and allies.</p><p dir="ltr">Many have already pointed out that the list <a href="http://gudbuytjane.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/the-trans-100/">wasn&rsquo;t perfect</a>, and it was impossible to include everyone. Richards called it &ldquo;messy but special.&rdquo; &nbsp;I call it a great start, and instead of focusing on what it&rsquo;s not, I want to celebrate what it can be. I look forward to seeing more names included next year of those whose work is so often underrepresented in the conversation. As an annual event, the&nbsp;<a href="http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-inaugural-trans-100-list-us.html">Trans 100</a>&rsquo;s reach promises to be infinite.</p><p dir="ltr">Christina Kahrl, who writes for ESPN, wasn&rsquo;t worried about seeing her name included this year. &ldquo;If not, it means 100 other people are doing amazing work,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Kahrl encouraged Richards from the start to make the list a way to encourage a wider conversation on the &ldquo;everyday problems people face.&rdquo; She wanted it to highlight issues that don&rsquo;t get much attention: health care, sex workers&rsquo; rights and youth homelessness.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;[<a href="http://feministing.com/2013/04/09/quick-hit-100-amazing-trans-americans-you-should-know/">The list</a>] takes on trans empowerment in a different way than what catches the eye of the mainstream media,&rdquo; Kahrl stated. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s often administrative, unglamorous and unsexy, but this is the kind of work that needs done.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">I spoke with honoree Namoli Brennet over the phone as she drove down the lonely highways of upstate New York to perform at the&nbsp;<a href="http://chicagophoenix.com/2013/04/09/list-of-nations-top-100-transgender-community-advocates-released/">Trans 100</a>&nbsp;ceremony. A traveling singer-songwriter who often tackles gender and sexuality in her work, Brennet said the event made her &ldquo;even more proud to be a part of the trans community.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Nothing like this event has ever happened before,&rdquo; Brennet said. &ldquo;Ten or 15 years ago your role models for trans people were Patrick Swayze in&nbsp;To Wong Foo, these people who were loving caricatures. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/the-trans-100">Trans 100</a>&nbsp;creates a sense of possibility and helps to highlight the number of ways there are of living as a trans person.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Joe Stevens of Coyote Grace performed with Brennet at the Trans 100 event. A West Coast native and guitarist, Stevens said via email that the list is a &ldquo;wonderful acknowledgement of how far [the community has] come...We often only hear the bad news and setbacks, and I believe celebrating our successes is an important morale boost as well as a catalyst for new growth.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Like Stevens, Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler was interested in the social justice aspect of the Trans 100, as a way to &ldquo;create change on a large scale.&rdquo; Ziegler, a Trans 100 honoree, is a black filmmaker and social entrepreneur who uses socially conscious business models to further trans empowerment and sustainability for the community.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I mean this in terms of sustaining lives,&rdquo; Ziegler stressed in a phone interview. &ldquo;We have to let people know that their lives are worth sustaining. Sustainability means continuing to live.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Ziegler said the trans community often doesn&rsquo;t give attention to business and hopes to change that.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to seem money-centric, but it&rsquo;s the world we live in,&rdquo; Ziegler said. &ldquo;To fund the programs we need, finances are important. We need to further our visibility.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">According to Ziegler, the Trans 100 has the power to &ldquo;move the trans community forward in ways we haven&rsquo;t seen before.&rdquo; &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to ignite a movement of continued amazing activism,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;More people are going to want to rise up and do something. It&rsquo;s already changed my life.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Kahrl agreed.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;As much as the system is screwed up now, it becomes a moral imperative to make it right,&rdquo; Kahrl said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not working for ourselves. We&rsquo;re working for trans kids, for the kids who haven&rsquo;t been born yet. We&rsquo;re working for the future.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com">Tumblr</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/Nico_Lang">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 14:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-04/trans-100-marks-beginning-new-era-106588 We need to give up transphobia http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/we-need-give-transphobia-106351 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:16px;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2013-03-05-chain-fence-4_3_r536_c534.jpg" style="width: 386px; height: 290px;" title="Image of MMA fighting cage, where a trans fighter has stepped into the ring for the first time (Jae C. Hong/AP)" /></span></div><p style="font-family: arial;"><em style="font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 14px;">Trigger warning: Transphobia. A lot of transphobia.</em></p><p style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3950813978444785" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A month ago, my friend Todd Clayton came out as a recovering transphobe in an incisive <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/todd-clayton/queer-community-transphobic_b_2727064.html">essay</a> for the</span><span style="font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> Huffington Post </span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">entitled &ldquo;The Queer Community Has to Stop Being Transphobic.&rdquo; In the piece, Clayton details his own journey on transphobia and inclusion, how a Lana Wachowski speech opened his eyes to the quiet bigotry in his own life. He hadn&rsquo;t openly attacked trans people or worked against their freedoms. Clayton was transphobic in a lot of the ways our community members are: insensitive and dismissive, not realizing the ways in which trans lives and struggles intersect with our own.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.3950813978444785" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When he asked me to read it, I told him it was a common experience of cisgender people in the community. As someone who came from a similar place as he did, it was my experience. I told Todd that if he ever published it, I would come out with my own story. This is that story. It&rsquo;s not easy to tell. I&rsquo;ve been holding onto it for awhile, keeping it secret and safe. But it can&rsquo;t stay secret any more.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">My name is Nico Lang, and I used to be transphobic.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I never thought about myself that way. I thought that my emotions were normal and valid, feeling justified in my passive disgust for trans bodies. The first time I heard about trans people was when my father talked about seeing </span><span style="font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The Crying Game</span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> in the theater and the way the audience convulsed with shock when the heroine&rsquo;s &ldquo;secret&rdquo; was revealed. My father claimed that people walked out or threw up when confronted with the image of transness or a life that didn&rsquo;t fit their binaries.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I was a teenager. Binaries were all I knew. Like Patty Hearst, I grew to love my captivity. I identified with my oppressors, working to uphold that marginalization in my own life.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When I met a trans person for the first time, I didn&rsquo;t think my emotions were hatred, but they had to show on my face. For the purposes of this essay, her name was Megan, and she was one of the oddest characters I&rsquo;ve ever met, the kind of person you&rsquo;ll never forget. Megan claimed to be a vampire and drink blood; she also told us stories of being a general&rsquo;s wife and getting married in Egypt, as if she were a real-life Orlando or Candide. She wanted to believe she led a life that was too big to comprehend. </span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I thought she was pathetic. Rather than looking at her identity as a natural defense mechanism for a conservative Cincinnati that would always see her as an outsider, I refused to understand her. I didn&rsquo;t try. My friend told me that Megan had been kicked out of her home and most schools she&rsquo;d attended. This should have helped me be more compassionate, but my heart couldn&rsquo;t open to let her in. I still think about her sometimes. I don&rsquo;t know if she even knows I have anything to be sorry for, but I want to apologize anyway.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Like all hate, I held onto it and secretly nurtured it in my refusal to believe there was anything wrong with the way I felt. On my first day of Human Sexuality in college, we watched a video on transitioning, one that included thorough graphics on gender assignment surgery. Just as the doctor discussed creating a vagina out of the shaft of a penis, I tapped out. I went for a drink of water. I milled around in the halls, checking fake text messages. I didn&rsquo;t even have a texting service at that time. I just couldn&rsquo;t go back in there. This wasn&rsquo;t what I&rsquo;d signed up for.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I wasn&rsquo;t sorry yet. I started to feel the void where sorry was supposed to be, the same one I felt when I saw</span><span style="font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> Transamerica</span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and turned away during its brief flash of nudity. I couldn&rsquo;t look at her, just like a part of me couldn&rsquo;t comprehend the identity of a trans masculine classmate of mine. When a friend showed me what trans masculine bodies looked like (from a coffee table book he owned of Loren Cameron&#39;s work), I almost couldn&rsquo;t believe it. </span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This is an actual quote: &ldquo;But they look so </span><span style="font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">normal</span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.&rdquo; It would be years before I learned to regret those words. I wish I could go back in time and punch that person in the face.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I wish there were a moment where I look at my behavior and realized that I needed to change, but life isn&rsquo;t like that. There isn&rsquo;t always a moment; there are a million moments, where you are made accountable to your lack of compassion and openness to the experiences of others, and that part of you will always still be there, nagging and pulling. Sometimes hate stays the same way it did before, and sometimes it lives on in racism, sexism and homophobia. Sometimes it just takes a nap.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">My hate was always secretly directed inward. From an early age, I <a href="http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/when-i-was-a-girl/">identified as female</a>, and it was years before my parents could get me to put on a pair of jeans. I wanted to wear dresses. I settled for sweatpants. Most kids were obsessed with Barney or Chuck E. Cheese; I wanted to be like Jane Fonda, in her spandex and matching headband, commanding a room of women to be their best selves while protesting the war in Vietnam, winning Oscars and being married to an eccentric billionaire. Many of us grew up secretly believing we could have it all. I knew I could. Jane told me so.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">My father has the same name as I do, and I didn&rsquo;t want his name, just like I didn&rsquo;t want his maleness. I went by the name &ldquo;Nicky.&rdquo; When my parents resisted, I started spelling it in increasingly elaborate and stripper-esque ways, like &ldquo;Nicki,&rdquo; &ldquo;Nickie,&rdquo; &ldquo;Nikki&rdquo; and &ldquo;NICKEE*.&rdquo; I dotted it with hearts, wrote it in pink and shellacked it with glitter. Some kids have to come out; I was barely ever in.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">For a long time, my parents let it slide. This was at the height of my brother Jonathan&rsquo;s illness, and my mother&rsquo;s days were too filled with breathing tubes, doctor&rsquo;s visits and press appearances to pay attention to anything else. My brother was born with a condition that they didn&rsquo;t have a name for. Basically, his insides swelled until they couldn&rsquo;t anymore. It was like his brain was trying to push its way out.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They didn&rsquo;t name my gender variance either. They figured that if they didn&rsquo;t pay attention to it, the problem would go away, like a car alarm or a Jehovah&rsquo;s Witness. My father expected that I would grow to only love the things he did; he expected me to give up Barbies for G.I. Joes and teatime for football, the sport he so loved. He just wanted us to be playing on the same team. He didn&rsquo;t expect to see me in dresses.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">As a culture, when we see a man in a dress, we do one of two things: We laugh or we beat it out of him. We do that in different ways. My parents caught me playing Cinderella at daycare one day after work, and they didn&rsquo;t hit me or punish me. They didn&rsquo;t throw me on the street or pawn me off on a religiously conservative relative. They just showed me that wasn&rsquo;t an option. This isn&rsquo;t what boys do. I was never taught that it was okay to be a woman or that it was okay to be myself. Boys aren&rsquo;t princesses; they rescue them.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">They didn&rsquo;t realize that one day I would need to rescue myself.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hating yourself is easy. I found a million outlets to hate myself. I had Jesus, who was nailed to a cross because I wasn&rsquo;t good enough. I had the locker room, which helped me learn to hate my body, on top of hating my soul. I had the guys who would wait outside my Pre-Calculus class to stare at me as I walked by, treating my queerness as a spectacle. I had the uncle who stopped talking to me when I came out, who would only direct questions or statements to me through my mother. He didn&rsquo;t hate me for being a socialist or wanting to tear down his capitalist patriarchy because of my political beliefs or any interesting reason. He hated me for the same boring reasons everyone else did. He hated me without even knowing why.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Boring or not, hate sticks. And low-simmering hate is particularly dangerous, because it&#39;s easy to ignore. Hate becomes a pattern, and you learn to hate for the same stupid reasons everyone else does. You hate without even knowing why, not recognizing that hate is a reflection of yourself. </span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">You don&rsquo;t choose to give up hate one day and wash your hands of it forever; the feelings stick with you, and they take lifetimes to cleanse. It&rsquo;s not enough to simply not hate people, and you don&rsquo;t get a pat on the back for looking at Lana Wachowski and saying, &ldquo;Oh, I accept you now. Here&rsquo;s an award. Go us!&rdquo; You have to actively work to include trans people in your lives and spaces, accept a callout when you get it wrong and educate yourself to be better. You have to be accountable to yourself.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">As Virginia Mamey Mollenkott argues, </span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&quot;It is vital for gay men, lesbians and bisexuals to recognize our movement </span><span style="font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">as basically a transgender movement</span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.&quot; Mollenott tells us that it&rsquo;s not just about homosexuality. It&rsquo;s about being queer -- or &nbsp;different from the norm. Our struggle is about gender. She writes, &quot;The fact that the most effeminate gay men and the butchest lesbians are the most endangered among us should alert us to the fact that society cares less about what we do in private than it cares about a challenge to its longstanding gender assumptions.&quot;</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">There was a time when I accepted not hating people as enough and credited myself as a good ally for &ldquo;having trans friends.&rdquo; </span><span style="font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Look how far I&rsquo;ve come! </span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">However, our engagement needs more than love; it needs action. Trans people are some of the most visible and at risk in our collective struggle, and we must actively work with trans people, rather than simply for them. Gay cisgender men need to stop wondering where the T is and realize that the T is all around us, organizing and working to make the community safer for all of us. The trans movement isn&rsquo;t the next movement. </span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Look around you. The movement is happening now, whether we care to recognize it or not. </span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The movement is <a href="http://kokumomedia.com/kokumo-music-2/">KOKUMO</a>. The movement is <a href="http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/12/04/being-transgender-no-longer-a-mental-disorder-apa/">Kate Bornstein</a>. The movement is <a href="http://transgriot.blogspot.com/">Monica Roberts</a>. The movement is <a href="http://juliaserano.blogspot.com/">Julia Serano</a>. The movement is <a href="http://www.wehappytrans.com">We Happy Trans</a>. The movement is <a href="http://janetmock.com/2012/05/28/twitter-girlslikeus-campaign-for-trans-women/">Girls Like Us</a>. The movement is the <a href="http://www.transmonthofaction.org/">Trans Month of Action</a>. The movement is being broadcast all around you, and it&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/491163934264456/">coming to Chicago</a> this weekend with <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Trans100?ref=ts&amp;fref=ts">The Trans 100</a>, celebrating the incredible diversity of the trans community. Trans people are here. Are we paying attention?</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I thought of Megan this week when GLAAD <a href="http://www.advocate.com/politics/2013/03/24/glaad-affirms-commitment-trans-and-bi-people-alters-name">announced</a> that it would be changing its acronym. The organization will no longer stand for the &ldquo;Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation&rdquo; but GLAAD, as in the emotion. </span></b><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This reflects that the </span></b><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">organization</span></b><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> not only speak</span></b><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">s for gays and lesbians, but also includes trans people in its mission. This was announced even though the G and the L will remain in the organization&#39;s name and their board is <a href="http://americanapparently.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/glaadt-gltaad-glaad-adds-trans-equality-to-its-mission/">mostly comprised</a> of white, cis males -- much like HRC, our friendly neighborhood transphobes.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I don&rsquo;t discredit them for that. I know personally that we all have to start somewhere, and that we can&rsquo;t move forward without taking that first step. However, in <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/172925/white-people-have-give-racism">giving up transphobia</a>, we must do more than just mention trans folks. Trans people are worthy of full inclusion, and they must lead, speak, sign, march, walk and wheel next to us (or in front of us). We must realize that their perspectives and issues are as worthy of championing as ours. We need to shut up and learn to listen. As GLAAD moves forward, I hope they continue to listen and push inclusion further. I hope we all do.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A month ago <a href="https://twitter.com/janetmock">Janet Mock</a> very politely called me out on Twitter for getting something wrong in an article I wrote on transphobia in <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-01/observers-transphobic-bullying-what-war-trans-women-looks-104924">The Observer</a></em></span><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, and I learned from her. I haven&#39;t always been great with callouts, but this time, I was happy to get schooled by the best. My work isn&rsquo;t perfect. My work needs to be pushed and to push itself. I&rsquo;m still learning -- and that includes learning to love myself, finally. Personally, I&rsquo;m still <a href="http://inourwordsblog.com/2012/01/10/coming-out-yup-im-genderqueer/">figuring out</a> what gender <a href="http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/things-ive-learned-from-writing-under-a-gender-neutral-name/">means to me</a>. Like everything else in my life, it&rsquo;s a journey.</span></b></font></span></p><p style="font-family: arial;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="georgia, serif"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If I saw Megan today, I wouldn&rsquo;t just apologize to her. I would thank her. After all, she succeeded in at least one way: I never forgot her.</span></b></font></span></p><p><em>Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly characterized the makeup of the GLAAD board. Ten percent of the GLAAD board identifies as transgender. It also mistakenly characterized GLAAD&#39;s mission statement. GLAAD&#39;s <a href="http://www.glaad.org/about" target="_blank">mission statement</a> includes trans people. </em></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: 14px;"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can follow Nico on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/Nico_Lang">Twitter</a>, <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com">Tumblr</a> or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang">Facebook</a>.</span></b></em></span></p></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/we-need-give-transphobia-106351