To ensure that trans people #WontBeErased in light of recent attacks on trans rights we have to be critical of conditional acceptance. For too long LGBT people have had to say that we are “just like” cis straight people in order to be recognized. This is because by & large cis straight people have only extended sympathy in so much as they can see themselves in us. This is part of a historic pattern where dominant groups only accept marginalized groups for their own selfish interests, not out of a practice of justice. Identification should not be a prerequisite for justice.
In the trans movement those of us who are visibly gender non-conforming &/ not on hormones are constantly told that we are not “legitimately trans” or “trans enough.” This is because in order for (white) binary trans people to get acceptance from cis culture they have to say they are “normal men & women” “brothers & sisters” like you. Shame & stigma are displaced on the next available target, not challenged all together. Visibly gender non-conforming people are collateral damage in this pursuit of normalcy.
Conditional acceptance is not justice. This isn’t what freedom looks like — having to disappear our difference. This ends up hurting all trans people because acceptance is dependent on conformity, not simply for being. Ideology is prioritized more than dignity.
During times of crisis often the most palatable representation of a marginalized group is uplifted because their narratives & appearances are seen as digestible by the mainstream. But how how much of us is left for ourselves after we are finished being consumed? In the face of erasure outside we erase our differences inside. The mandate of “trans people will not be erased” rings hollow when gender non-conforming people continue to be erased by the trans community itself.
Now more than ever we need to center & celebrate gender non-conformity. We need to abolish the idea of “trans enough.” We need to fight not just for trans rights, but for the end of heteronormativity & gender binarism. We need to reject logics that link our worth to our appearance.
Justice should not be dependent on what we look like.
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