I’m Not Angry, I’m Aware: Transphobia and The Gay Community

Gay and Trans Solidarity in NYC at Stonewall Inn Protest (Photo by Eric Edward Schell Photography)

I’m not an angry person, but I am angry about injustice. I’ve come to terms with that anger, because if we aren’t angry about injustice, then we’re doing it wrong, as activists. I’m also aware that not everyone is an activist or has to be one, but when members of the LGBTQIA+ community inhibit the progress of equality and equity we have fought so hard to achieve, it’s infuriating. It is hard enough to get people outside of our community to educate themselves of the unknown, but why is it so hard for us to?

I was recently told getting angry wouldn’t help anything. Well, getting angry does make a difference. If we simply sit back and let people be blind in their ignorance, hate and or lack of education we wouldn’t be where we are today. Because of our anger, in conjunction with our unity, we now have legislation that demands equality and protections. Being angry is a political act.

I have come across quite a few people using problematic language pertaining to other parts of our community. In my personal experience, I have found that gay men, like myself, are often the most guilty of not stepping outside of our respective bubble within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum by refusing to understand the needs of the other facets of our community.

Recently, gay men have heavily contributed to transphobia, an issue we have seen a lot of on the national level in current events. By invalidating trans people, we in turn silence and erase their existence. We know from our own history that silence equals death. Trans women of color are being murdered at an alarmingly high rate. 22 trans women of color have lost their lives this year.

How quickly we forget June 28, 1969. The Stonewall Riots. Trans women were in the front lines being arrested, fighting for our equality.

I would also like to point out the even bigger problem of organizations that were comprised of older, wealthy, white, cisgender gay men who have since “diversified” their boards, but still maintain the same problematic principles that continue to ignore the needs of the more marginalized populations within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

I for one was guilty of not being the best ally, but I cared enough about our communities’ history and the fight each of our respective groups has, to learn and adjust my words and actions.

If by pointing out underlying problems, I have made you uncomfortable or offended you, you might want to take a step back and examine why. Do you have work to do? It’s ok if you do; it’s not ok if you make the choice to continue being part of the problem instead of the solution.