Examine this picture. If you can identify yourself as allowing or participating in one of these actions. No matter how fleeting or unimportant you think your discretions are, think carefully about the fact that the people on the pyramid levels above you are standing on your shoulders to get there.
This graphic is used by the Anti Defamation League to illustrate the building blocks of Anti Semitism and Racism. It is not off the mark at all.
Think about this in terms of transgender people and how this pyramid can be used to bring the struggle we face into focus.
ACTS OF BIAS: Do you remember the last time you made a joke about a transgender person? Do you think of us as mentally ill? Maybe an open target for ridicule?
ACTS OF PREJUDICE: Do you know someone who has come out as transgender? Have you insulted them for who they are? Do you avoid being in the same room? Do you purposely leave them out of gatherings, events, meetings, conversations that you would have included them in if they weren’t transgender? Do you forbid your kids from being friends with a transgender child?
ACTS OF DISCRIMINATION: Do you think employers should be able to fire transgender people from their jobs? Should landlords or mortgage companies be able to deny transgender people a place to live? Should transgender people be excluded from activities or be denied entry into certain establishments? Do you think we should be excluded from using bathrooms that align with our gender identity? Should legislators enact legislation to keep transgender people in control and protect you from them?
ACTS OF BIAS-MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: Do you think that someone should be able to kill a transgender person and not be punished? How about burning down their home? Rape? Maybe it’s OK to break all the windows in their car? Or maybe it’s acceptable to harm them because you are offended by their presence?
GENOCIDE: How about creating carefully crafted legislation, that makes it harder and harder for transgender people to exist? This is how it starts. Cut them off from society. Cut them off from medical care. Don’t allow them the ability to exist without outing themselves to everyone they come into contact with. Make them ashamed of who they are. Keep corralling them into smaller and smaller social spaces, so eventually you can just get rid of them altogether.
If you support or do any of the things that I mentioned above. The people who are doing the next worse thing are using your beliefs and actions to support their beliefs and actions. So, if you are only just making crude jokes about transgender people that you find funny, you are the building block for the people who will make sure we no longer exist for your amusement.