Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Well, This Pissed Me Off Today...

That's a tweet from earlier today from Frank Conniff, who was a key contributor to what I'd argue is one of the best shows to ever air on television: Mystery Science Theater 3000. I adore his work, and our political views strongly overlap. I'm very predisposed to like this person.

Then he tweeted that. Ugh.

Ann Coulter is a detestable figure, whose right-wing ravings often verge into something resembling performance art. I understand why she provokes frothing rage on the left- I really do. What I've never understood is the widespread impulse among liberals to look at Coulter and think "Wow! You know what would be a hilarious diss/slam/burn? If I pointed out that Ann Coulter looks like she might be transgender!"

I expect this sort of bigotry from the right. Go type "Michelle Obama Transgender" into a google search and stare slack-jawed at the disgusting fever swamp of racism and trans-misogyny they've spawned. They sure aren't saying "Michelle Obama is a t---y" as a compliment, are they? But once again, I expect as much from a group of people who are actively working to make the lives of transgender people more difficult and dangerous. I've given up on them. I just hope we can keep them out of political power until "generational replacement" inevitably alters public opinion on transgender rights.

But all too often, some on the left seem eager to throw us trans folks under the bus. It's stunning to see people celebrate progress for LGB rights one moment, then make lazy transphobic jokes the next. Conniff himself is a fierce advocate for same sex marriage. It's particularly disappointing to see people who should know better spouting what amounts to hate speech against trans folks.

Let's break down that "joke" for a moment. First of all, liberals have been hurling this insult at Coulter for over a decade. Aren't there about a MILLION much worse things about her you could make fun of? But you pick "She kinda looks like she might have been a dude!" What does that say about how you REALLY feel about a deeply marginalized, vulnerable population? At best, you reveal that you don't actually view trans folks as "real" people. You've never taken the time to consider them as a variable in your world. At worst, you reveal your own ugly transphobia (like LGB fave Roseanne Barr has done more that once).

This is a symptom of a larger problem, and it goes deeper than transphobic attempts at humor aimed at political enemies. We see the same mentality when trans-exclusionary radical feminists work with the Duggars of the world to keep us from going to the bathroom in peace- Or when trans men are allowed into traditionally women's colleges while trans women are excluded- Or when prominent LGBT organizations give the trans community at best lip service and at worst active neglect.

The message? Trans women are not full citizens, not fully human, not really women.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty fed up with this shit. I'm not going to suffer this silently. I hope you won't, either.

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