Tag Archives: safety

A letter to the bathroom bigots:

26 Oct

To all of the people who don’t want me in your bathrooms Roseanne Barr ,  Rob Anders  and all the rest:

The bathroom issue seems to come up somewhere on nearly a daily basis. All of you claim to be well meaning, protecting woman from a possible danger that we could theoretically pose. You say it’s all about safety. Let me tell you a bit about safety.

I have never ever in my life felt safe. Not once that I can bring to mind. This in varying degrees is the reality for nearly all of the trans community (I would never claim to speak for everyone). It is not just physical safety either; I don’t feel economic safety, emotional safety, or social safety.

We have realities you don’t face and don’t seem to understand. In many jurisdictions we can be openly fired from our jobs or, even in the places where we can’t, we are driven out of our jobs or excuses found to fire us.  Housing is uncertain even in places where we have protections. So many times you are living with hostile neighbors, landlords who find excuses not to help you, or in neighborhoods where walking as trans is very dangerous. When we face abuse or homelessness there are huge number of shelters where we are simply not welcome or not safe. We attempt to go to school and face bullying and a curriculum which ignores us or vilifies us.

It all reinforces itself. Many of us end up undereducated, underemployed, living in poverty, with few resources and inadequate supports. Even when we miss those outcomes we still have to deal with the hostile stares if we don’t meet cis standards of proper appearance, or have to pull out an ID with the wrong gender tag on it. We often can’t even share our own past and life experiences without risking someone realizing our trans histories and treating us with scorn or worse.

I want you to think about that bathroom bigot. Imagine a life where the best case scenario is often invisibility and praying a bad outcome doesn’t occur. Imagine never feeling secure. Imagine not even being able to go to the bathroom without risk; an absolutely basic bodily function. Then you tell me that were the ones making people unsafe.

Feedback Request: A radical safety idea…

22 Jul

I am posting something I’ve been thinking about for a while and have discussed with a couple of my friends in hope of getting some feedback. If you read my blog, twitter, or facebook you are aware of my recent bullying situation. The entire affair has had a very detrimental effect on my mental health and caused me enormous stress. I noticed one of the worst things aout the situation for me was that I was unprepared for this happening and I had no control over it at all. I also still don’t know who is and isn’t comfortable with me in the classroom. Having considered this I came up with as idea and wondered if it seemed crazy.

I am thinking that from now on I will go to school in a completely out fashion. I am already out to whoever asks but I mean more in the wear my trans symbol necklace, have a trans pride sticker from Toronto pride on my book bag kind of out. Basically, I would be declaring to the world loudly and clearly that I am trans. I see this as an advantage in several ways. Firstly, I would immediately get an idea of who the allies and problem spots are in my classes. This allows me to mentally prepare and also to avoid the people I need to avoid. Secondly, it would give people a chance to ask me questions and to see a trans person as a real person. It would be a chance to educate and normalize being trans. Thirdly, it would allow me to become more comfortable with myself as a trans person and leave behind that baggage of shame. It would be me saying “I am trans do you have a problem with me? I don’t have a problem with me.”

There is the downside. I would be very open for mockery, abuse, and potentially violence. I would have to get used to the looks and the gossip because I know from past experience they happen. I know some people will also distance themselves from me who otherwise wouldn’t. Most worryingly, I would open myself up for discrimination and mistreatment from teachers and authorities which is a very difficult situation to handle.

Any thoughts or any extra things you think I should consider? Feel free to reply to the post or use my contact info for direct mail/twitter if you prefer.  I would really like some other peoples input as this would be a big step.