No adversity is meant toward the gay community in this opinion piece.
I have been transitioning from male to female for almost two years now, and I’ve witnessed what I consider to be the implications of what could be a potentially genocide within the so-called “gay community.” in years to come.
Transwomen are displaced within the LGBTQ community and this will lead to more trans suicides.
The suicide rate for transgender people is a staggering statistic that I need not mention, because as we all know; transgender people have a very high risk of killing themselves. What’s worse is other people within the LGBTQ community including gay men, do not represent trans culture. It turns out, the queer community does not have a whole lot in common with us, thought they at one time faced the same struggle. Therefore transwomen have very few outlets for support.
I’m not saying that people within the queer community do not empathize with us, simply put, they do not face the same challenges of survival that transwomen face. A gay guy can get a job pretty much anywhere nowadays and so can a lesbian or anyone else within the spectrum, that is...except for transwomen.
There is no community for trans people yet.
This is not the fault of queer folk and their community, it’s also our fault. Transwomen have failed to come together as their own community and willingly alienate themselves from each other because of learned behaviors that are reactions to how society treats us.
How did this happen?
Well first we must consider how queer communities' function. There is such a small percentage of gay to straight people in the world. Non-heteronormative people must find very subjective scenarios in which they can meet with their fellow community. Usually bars and businesses within the hospitality industry are the only place that queer people can go to where they know they will be unanimously accepted and will have a chance at finding more like-minded individuals. The problem with queer folks only having a handful of places to go to meet, is that bars and clubs are very niche by nature and do not whole-heartedly accept all who come. Therefore, individuals who seek others who are the like-minded, must first be accepted by the establishment and social circuit of the queer folks, before they are allowed to enter the “gay community” which nowadays seems to me to be just a catch-phrase that is tethered to the social clique that claims to be it.
It has been detrimental us transwomen having been lumped in haphazardly with gay men and gay women who are simply put, different than us and us transwomen face urgent and unique struggles that they do not face anymore and have not in decades. In my experience gay men and women, generally don’t understand trans issues as much as they would like to think they do, to no fault of their own as they are not trans people. Having said that, I am not mentioning female to male trans-persons because females can become passable with hormones with much greater ease than a man can become a woman, also a woman is generally allowed to look like a guy in society already.
Since the queer community is so tight-knit, belonging to it is a popularity contest and nothing more. There is an incentive for gay folks to be critical when deciding whom they deem may enter their exclusive and coveted community, as a newcomer may threaten their volatile position within the clique that they’ve jockeyed so hard to achieve.
So, where else can transwomen meet besides gay bars?
It is unacceptable still, to be a trans person and especially a crossdresser in this world, unless of course you are “passable.”
“It’s 2020, what do you mean that it’s unacceptable to be trans.” You might say.
Guys, do me a favor. Go put a dress and some makeup on and try to find a job and then tell me that it is acceptable. People say it that doesn’t matter what others think and to just be you. Well, it actually matters to the point of life and death. If you don’t get work because you are not passable but identify as a woman, you end up on the streets and then you either die from poverty, kill yourself, or contract HIV from hooking; which is the only real job for transwomen besides porn (unless you were grandfathered into your current job, that I guarantee loathes the fact that you still work there and that there’s nothing they can do to get rid of you.)
Since transwomen are reduced to using sleezy hookup apps in order to find one another, if they attempt to do so at all, there is real missing sense of community. On these sites, transwomen basically work as escorts or camgirls, because being transgender - they are unable to obtain regular jobs or virtually any work that is not sex-related.
If you are a fellow trans and try to reach out to other trans on these sleezy hookup sites, the chances are that you will not get a response of any kind from your peer who is just there to work. I have not seen a desire for transwomen to have any connection with others alike in such sites, in my brief experience as a transwoman on such sites.
Transwomen treating each other like human beings is counterintuitive to our nature now as we have been programmed by society to accept being treated like dirt, and when you feel like dirt, you don’t have the self-esteem or will to lift others up. I fear that transwomen are beginning to see other transwomen as they might see themselves. Worthless.
A transwomen communicating with another transwomen, does little to validate their identity as a sex toy for men and could even compromise their self-image, if they feel inferior to the transwoman they are communicating with in some way and thus instead of coming together in one of the only places we can find each other, we avoid interacting with one another and are instead competitive because of this toxic mentality.
There are chatrooms for trans people, but anything political is strictly prohibited. This makes no sense to me as we are at a time in our history where our sect of society desperately needs to be organizing with one another and not just following those who do not understand or have our needs.
I’ve seen other transwomen being standoffish to each other too many times to remain silent about it. I understand it though. Transwomen treating each other like human beings is becoming counterintuitive to what we have been programmed to believe by society. On a large scale, the only economically viable utility a transwoman has to offer society is sex. We now accept being treated like dirt by the people we have no choice but to entertain in order to survive, and when you feel like dirt, you don’t have the self-esteem or will to lift others up, which us transwomen so desperately need to do for one another but alas, it seems that transwomen see other transwomen as they see themselves - as worthless.
The gay community has failed at making being a transwoman or male crossdresser acceptable in society, we are merely tolerated. Just because gay men put on drag shows, it does not mean that they know what it is like to live life in those clothes and it’s like calling a Mexican person Brazilian just because they are both south of us. I’m not saying that queer folk have an obligation to us to change the world for trans people, but it is offensive to see them march every year for freedom for LGBTQ folk during the embarrassing shit show that is pride and accomplish zero political or social change with the effort. Every year there's a new parade for the community in cities all over the world and not a damn thing has gotten better for people like me. If the gay community used the man-power and finances they have for Pride on raising the issue of transwomen being unable to make a living in this country unless they become a prostitute. I would argue that an African American man in the 50’s had a significantly higher chance of finding work of any kind than a transwoman does in America today. We face discrimination every day to a similar degree that an African American person did in the 60’s and that is unacceptable.
If you don’t understand what I mean so far, you are probably not trans or you are and are passable as a female.
If you are a man and you are reading this, go put a dress and some makeup on and try to find a job and then tell me that it is acceptable to dress in women's clothing. It is worse than having a face-tattoo and five felonies when looking for work. People say it that doesn’t matter what others think and to just be you. Well, it actually matters to the point of life and death. If you don’t get work because you are not passable but identify as a woman, you end up on the streets and then you either die from poverty, kill yourself, or contract HIV from hooking; which is the only real job for transwomen besides porn (unless you were grandfathered into your current job, that I guarantee loathes the fact that you still work there and that there’s nothing they can do to get rid of you.)
If you’re trans and you’re reading this and it makes you angry, I’m sorry but please express why! Maybe you feel like you let yourself and your community down by not engaging with your peers and you might feel embarrassed for buying into the competitive rat-race of being accepted in a community that doesn’t quite understand you Maybe after you read this, you will take the time to give extra effort towards your sisters or brothers who reach out to you because, whether this is a rant or not, you know very well that your actions may be the last straw for someone who is considering ending their life because they have no place in this world….yet.
I’m calling for transwomen to come together as a community and to realize that the LGBTQ community has failed us and that we are failing ourselves. I am asking my fellow transwomen to become okay with having a political dialogue, because this world does not accept us yet and it is time to find our voice.