Reproducing Inequality in Our Own Communities

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Reproducing Inequality in Our Own Communities

Step One:  Ask some nonsense question.

Step Two:  Ask it again with vigorous sincerity, ignoring any problematic language.

Step Three:   Ask why the person you offended doesn't comply with your demands, extra points if you qualify it with "It's nothing personal..."

 

Instead of writing the upcoming post on inequality in the the US Education system through a queer perspective, I want to take time to reflect on a conversation that happened far too early this morning and its overarching implications within the queer community.

Today, like many other Tuesdays, I was casually taking care of overflow work from the past weekend.  As I mentally recited statistical equations, a queer guy I know stopped to ask me a question.  In short, he asked if I knew any 'transgenders' and if they would stop for an interview. This is not an outlandish request, since many folks in my campus community know that I am very active both politically and socially in queer life.  Politely rephrasing the question, I replied that although I knew many transpeople, I would need to know more information about the interview and what it was for.  Quickly and candidly, he articulated that this was for a conflict/consumer television program and that he was looking for 'transgenders' who were not 'of high class' and who would make for good TV.  Trying to keep my face together, I excused myself from the conversation remarking that no one I know would make that a reality for him.

Aside from this microchasm of ignorance and obvious quest for personal gain, this obsurb conversation made me think of the topic of transphobia and other biases within the LGBTQ community as a whole.  As a spectrum of people facing all sorts of inequality which includes and is not limited to racism, sexism, biphobia, classism and ableism (to name a few), it particularly appauling to find one member of the community contribute to the oppression or degradation of another group of LGBTQ folks.  Transphobia, which has been recently playing out in horrifying ways that include many reports of sexual assualt, discrimination and murder throughout the New York City area, does not solely exist within the minds of heterosexual people. Perhaps the transphobia that is reproduced amongst our own community isn't manifested in physical violence, but it is does influence and contribute to the harmful ideologies pervasive in our society.  Taking a step back from our own personal identities and thinking about the marginalization of others is crucial for the advancement of our community as a whole.

In this vein, I want to end with something for all of us to think about:

Knowing the importance of our own identities, how can we support fellow queers facing multi-layered oppressions?  How can we move forward?