12 February 2015
From Diana, I learned that Roman Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne of the Burlington (VT) diocese has affirming words for transgender people. However, he sees same-sex relationships as "not matching up" to what the Catholic Church calls its members to "strive for".
A part of me is cheering: Too often, trans people are “thrown under the bus”. Too often, the throwers are gay men and, somewhat less often, lesbians and bisexuals. Worse yet, groups that call themselves LGBT organizations and take our money (which, for trans people, is harder to come by than it is for anyone else) have sold us out by devoting all of their resources toward the singular goal of legalizing same-sex marriage.
And, of course, many people who aren’t part of our alphabet soup are perfectly willing to welcome the first three letters into their fold but toss out T’s. Some have positions of power and influence; others are examples for their children, students and others in their lives.
Whether transphobia comes from gay, straight, bisexual or any other kind of people or organizations, the result is the same: It divides trans people from lesbians, gays, bisexuals and others who don’t fit societal norms of gender and sexuality. And, of course, it divides others in the spectrum. The result is that when one has any sort of victory, the others believe (sometimes correctly) that it has come at their expense. Such a perception, of course, makes all members of oppressed groups easy prey for further exploitation.
Really, all of this isn’t so different from the way plutocrats have created and exploited tensions between races and ethnic groups. So, for example, many Italian immigrants of my grandparents’ generation detested Irish-Americans, most of whom preceded them by a decade or a generation in America. And many African-Americans believe that Jews have done more than anyone else to oppress them. Of course, the truly rich and powerful, who have exploited everyone I’ve mentioned, and just about everyone else, are, as the saying goes, “laughing all the way to the bank”.
My point is that if we, as trans people, should be glad that someone who could have “thrown us under the bus” chose not to do so, and should not rejoice or even breathe a sigh of relief that he chose to toss other groups of people—especially those who have been the objects of hate and violence similar to what we’ve experienced—instead.