Question: What are some of the worst cases of transphobia you’ve encountered?

188LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — By guest writer Michelle Rose.

Well, I’ve been assaulted five times. Does that count?

I’ve been:

1) Spat on (by a sweet little old lady who looked like someone’s favorite granny).

2) Elbowed in the head while disembarking from a city bus (essentially a sucker punch that knocked me to the pavement and if it hadn’t been for some sharp-eyed folks at the bus stop who pulled me out of the gutter and onto the sidewalk, that 20 ton bus would have rolled right over my dazed skull).

3) Punched in the back by a young gang girl who wanted to prove something to her fellow gang members—”earning her stripes” is the correct phrase, I believe.

4) Had a cupful of icy Pepsi thrown on me by another gang girl who then showed me a rather impressive knife and hinted, strongly, that she was going to summarily remove my genitalia and,

5) Was knocked to the ground by a young white male, college-age, who kicked me in the head as he leaped over me (his aim was poor and he was in a hurry. He grazed my ear and tore off my earring. Never found it, darn it) which resulted in bruised ribs and a blown knee. I limped for a week and climbing stairs was out of the question.

But ya know what? I’m lucky. Maybe I should put that in all-caps: I’M LUCKY. Know why? I’m alive to tell the tale. Some of us—over four thousand at last count—aren’t so lucky. They end up as a corpse on a slab with the coroner telling the homicide detectives, “Gentlemen, the deceased was NOT a woman! It was a man with a sex change!” Nods all around, they go for coffee, cut to commercial.

So who will speak for the dead woman on the slab when the last son-of-bitch to see her outside of a coffin takes away everything she’s worked for her whole life?

Me. You. Anyone who gives a damn about human life, that’s who. I’m lucky. I’m alive. In contrast, the equivalent of a whole city full of my sisters was murdered.

THAT’S the worst kind of transphobia.

(Michelle Rose is the co-author of the Lambda nominated book “The Color of Sunlight” and is an associate English instructor at a major American university. This article was previously published elsewhere.)


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Categories: Deaths, Murder, Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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6 replies

  1. Honestly that is why I try to never tell anybody I am transgender. Some people misgender me. Some guess I’m trans. But mostly I get called sir, and I identify as a man. Some trans people flaunt being queer or trans, and that is up to them. I am not in it to be a poster child or Ftm, first letter emphasized because that’s all cispeeps think about. Everyone applies to me a stereotype if I do say I’m trans, even with transgender support groups, like you must all be exactly the same and have same agenda. I don’t care what your agenda is, mine is to go on with life! I had to make my mother aware that if she outs me I could die or like the author be abused. But it isn’t always physical violence. The social workers and care givers for my mom became assured I would be dangerous because all people who are trans and on testosterone are violent. Stereotyping. So again I would like to be allowed the privilege of being what I am and not dying. Meanwhile being assumed cisgender I find ways to talk to people about respecting people who appear trans. “Well she is just the word he plus one more letter. Since it doesn’t take more time or hurt you to say it or type it, but it does traumatize her, why not say she?” I have said that one a lot! I think it can work to be an ally in hiding, because who knows better how to articulate how a trans person wants to be treated than someone who is? 😉

  2. Dave, thanks for your comment. You only need to do what you believe is safe for you. If it means just going on with life, that is fine, too. Not everyone is cut out for being vocal. As long as you vote at the ballot box for your well being, you’re ok. It’ll help if you can nudge a few, too. 🙂 Good luck.

  3. I have been Shoot and set fire to Because of the fact that I was Transgender and the thought that because they were able to do it in the country that they came from that it’s the same world wide I so wish that migrants from other countries learn about the culture of the country that they plan to live in before they go there I now have to have to live with a facial disability for th e rest of my life. I don’t really know if this is what you’re asking for.

  4. Started to transitioning in college for about two years and then went back to presenting as male for financial reasons only. While I was transitioning I had some breast growth and one male had to cop a feel and wouldn’t let go. He roughly grabbed my breasts and it literally took 5 people to pull him off me. Terrifying and painful. A group of hillbillies started to follow me as I walked along a street in a dress. So I walked to the nearest highway and walked against traffic. No one would be crazy enough to follow that move, or so I thought. After they started following me by driving along the shoulder on the wrong side of the highway, I made the decision to run across several lanes of traffic with several near misses. Who knew all those years of Frogger would come in handy?
    These issues along with financial ones convinced me to go back to living as male. I legally changed my name back to my original name and unlike the rather difficult process to change my name in the first place – this one was approved with speed. Funny how no one misplaced my paperwork this time, huh?
    So after going back to male I am safe, right? Nope! Several employers made is ABUNDANTLY clear that they had discovered my legal name change. In one case the harassment got so bad I started printing out emails and after two years of constant and brutal harassment quit. I took them to court and even with in inordinate amount of evidence it took a year for me to get a favorable settlement. In my agreement I can never share the details of my lawsuit, only that there was a lawsuit.
    With employers running ever more detailed background searches, I honestly believe my career has been hampered by bigoted employers freaking out about my decision to live my authentic self. At this point I wish I just transitioned.

  5. Thanks for your comments. Hope things get better for you!

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