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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why I Must Be Open That I Am A Bisexual Trans Woman

            I am a bisexual transgender woman. I fully accept all LGBTQ+ people. I fully affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, genderqueer, pansexual, and so on and so forth people as equally valid. And I must speak out.

            I’ve been asked a number of times by a number of people in a number of ways why I speak out. Usually it’s some variation of “Why does everyone need to know?” Or also “Why do you need to be so open about it?” And it’s usually it’s from a place of concern. They know about the discrimination and issues gender and sexual minorities face and they don’t want me to face that. But it’s still an odd question right? “Why does everyone need to know?” But I have a counter-question.

Why do we see it as something that should be hidden?

Now, I know that some family will likely read this, and I know that 99% of my family unfortunately does not and will not support my positions. But that won’t stop me from saying… there’s nothing to hide or be ashamed of. We see straight couples all the time wearing matching clothes and silly shirts and holding hands and being romantic in public. But then people look at a gay couple and are like “Ugh, why do you need to make it so public?” or “We get it, you’re gay, why do you need to shove it in our faces?” (Cause straight couples TOTALLY don’t do that, right?)
            So why should it be so hidden? Cause some straight people might find it icky? Because you believe it’s a sin? Yeah, you believe being Wiccan is a sin too, but if someone wears something that states they’re a Wiccan you shouldn’t be like “QUIT BEING SO PUBLIC ABOUT IT AND SHOVING IT IN MY FACE!”
            The fact is, when you’re asking the question, you’re saying “Go back in the closet, I don’t want to see it.” The Christian Right often laments how accepting of “the gays” America is but really… there’s plenty more work to be done still. We’re still telling lesbian, gay, bisexual people that it’s shameful, it needs to be hidden, it’s not worthy of being as public as straight people.
            And then we wrap it up in concern. “Well, you shouldn’t be so open about it cause you’ll face discrimination!” And people, you’re sweet, you really are. But stop trying to stifle change and just tell us to keep quiet. Keeping quiet doesn’t work. Keeping quiet doesn’t change things. Keeping quiet is not going to fix the problems that we face. Maybe instead of asking “Why do you need to be so public when you’ll face discrimination?” we should be asking “Why are people discriminating against us?” In fact, I have a few questions to ask in return.

Why are 40% of homeless youth some form of LGBTQ+?

            When you ask “Why do you need to be so public?” you’re essentially saying that for homeless youth, it’s their fault for coming out. They were risking discrimination! And if you responded that… think of how fucked up that is? You are saying it’s their fault they’re homeless instead of, ya know, being their parents’ fault for kicking them out, peoples’ fault for treating them shitty, employers’ fault for refusing to hire them. Instead of telling us to keep quiet, why aren’t you tell those people to stop kicking us out of homes?

Why are 21% of young bisexual people attempting suicide each year?

            Why must they be so visible? Well if visibility is the problem, why is suicide such a problem? And there will unfortunately be the people that place all blame for suicide on the victim. (Well it was their choice! Or something just as shitty.)  But why are we thinking that or thinking “Oh, why did they have to choose that?” When you are suicidal, you do not realize there are other options. I know, I’ve been there. So instead of asking why they did it, maybe we should be asking why people are making life so horrible for them they felt they had no other option.

Why are 1 in 12 trans people murdered (1 in 8 if they are a trans woman of color)?

            Why must we be so visible? Well, as a trans woman, I know all the safety tips. Don’t walk alone at night, don’t go to certain areas, don’t make it too well known being trans, but wait wait wait, before I go further… Why are we putting on emphasis on what I need to to do be safe instead of trying to figure out why the fuck people are killing us at an alarming rate? This isn’t just standard safety for everyone. We are being killed way faster than anyone else. And it’s not just strangers. Former and current lovers have killed trans women. A trans woman was killed by her own father! So clearly even if we follow all the tips… we still might be killed. So why are we not addressing the problem of people that think it’s ok to kill us?

Why are we still allowed to be fired?

            There are still an alarming number of states that totally allow someone to be fired on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And it happens! (Look back up at the homelessness statistic…) And some people will say “Well why’d you come out to a homophobic boss?” or “Why’d you come out when you knew the state allowed it?” But why are we asking that question instead of asking why the hell are they allowed to fire people for that? Why are we blaming LGBTQ+ folk instead of blaming the people that are freaking firing them?!

Why are people more shocked by my openness than by what happens to us?

            I am open because I have no damn reason not to be. None. I don’t care if you believe it’s “icky” or sinful. I have no reason to hide. I have nothing to be ashamed of. And neither do the rest of my LGBTQ+ friends. My lesbian friends have nothing to be ashamed of. My transgender friends have nothing to be ashamed of. My bisexual, gay, genderqueer, genderfluid, pansexual, queer friends have nothing to be ashamed of.
So family that reads this, know that I love and cherish you, and I will never wish bad upon you. But I won’t apologize for saying, I will always be fighting against calling any of us sinful. I will always be fighting against the systematic belief systems that have forced us into homelessness and suicide for so long. I will always be fighting against the idea that we are something that needs to change of be hidden.

You will always be my family, I will always love you and talk to you and be nice to you and be happy to see you. But I cannot sugar coat that if you believe being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or any of the other various sexual orientations or gender identities are wrong, we are not and cannot be on the same side. And just as I’m sure you will actively push back against my beliefs, I also will be actively fighting against your beliefs.

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