16 April 2012

A Cis Ally And A Trans Panel On MSNBC

Yesterday, Melissa Harris-Perry presented a panel on MSNBC to discuss transgender issues. 

She was motivated to do this--and, in her words, to become "a better cis ally for the work of trans communities"--after seeing a video of the now-infamous beating of a trans woman in a suburban Baltimore fast-food restaurant. 

The fact that Ms. Harris-Perry is using her position to make herself such a visible ally is most welcome.  So is her presentation of the panel.  Part of me says that they tried to cover too many topics in the time they had.  However, one thing I have learned is that, even at this late date, I or any other trans person might be the "first impression" many people have of us.  And any time any of us talks about issues related to our identities and lives, there is a good chance that we will end up giving whoever is listening to, or reading, us a "primer" on what it means to be transgendered.

That is exactly what the panelists, who included Kate Bornstein, from whom I got some of my early education and encouragement.  I met her, albeit briefly, just as I was starting my life as Justine.  If she doesn't inspire you to live as your true self--whatever that means for you--there aren't very many other people who can. 

I am glad that MSNBC, which has such a large and wide audience, aired the panel--and that we're getting allies like Melissa Harris Perry as well as cis people who aren't nearly as well-known.

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