03 November 2013

Preying On The Desperation Of Her Own

By now, you may have heard about Armani Nicole Davenport.

She's the transgender pageant queen who's now a "person of interest" for practicing medicine without a license.  Specifically, she's accused of giving black-market silicone injections to trans girls who enter the sorts of contests she routinely won.

The news media have made much of the fact that she's transgender.  For example, one "report" says "the ten dancing toes of Ms. Armani Nicole Davenport are wanted".   

Now, I don't have a lot of sympathy for anyone who's putting people's lives and health at risk, as Ms. Davenport is accused of having done.  And, as much as I wish I could have begun my gender transition at an earlier age than I did, I don't think I would have wanted to be part of the pageant or "ball" scene.  Some of the girls (as they call themselves; they seem never to refer to themselves as "women") are quite beautiful and put a lot of care into their outfits and makeup, but others, to my eyes, are grotesque parodies of femaleness.  It's sad, really, to see women--trans, cis or otherwise--who cannot value themselves in any other way.

But, really, I cannot blame a lot of those girls for putting so much time and effort into winning those contests.  Many have run away from, or have been kicked out, of their homes and have no way to get a job.  Some are sleeping on couches, others on park benches or worse.  They don't expect to live long, and probably won't; during their brief, tormented lives, they have little else to look forward to.

That makes it all the more reprehensible that someone like Ms. Davenport would practice such a risky procedure, for which she has no training, on such desperate young people.  In that sense, her being trans does indeed make her alleged deeds even more depraved:  If she injected those would-be pageant queens, she is helping to perpetuate the kind of suffering she endured.

But although her deeds are less excusable due to the fact that she's trans, Ms. Davenport's gender identity alone does not make her a monster or even merely a criminal, as too many "news" reports, even at this late date, seem to imply.  Her transgender identity didn't make her morally deficient, any more than being cisgender or heterosexual makes someone evil.  Rather, the marginalization and desperation of those would-be pageant queens makes what Ms. Davenport is accused of having done to them is reason to grieve for them, and to point out just how vulnerable those young women actually are.



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