Friday, May 19, 2017

A little respect

Hi,

Apparently, it was IDAHoBiT the other day.  A day to push back against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Ideally, we wouldn't need a day to remind certain folk not to be, shall we say, a little less accepting of us, than we'd like. But, hey, 50% of the human population is female, and we've still not quite cracked the idea of treating each other equally. Humans, eh? :-)

Skipping back a few months ago, I was surprised to receive an invitation to give a talk about trans people. Or, more particularly, the work - if you can call it that - Nottingham Chameleons does for the Nottinghamshire trans folk. I say surprised because to be invited back means I can't have behaved that badly when I was there. :-) So, reasons to be positive eh?

I managed to juggle some time between meetings and those yes-I'm-still-enjoying-them-training-sessions, to... ummm... give another training session. This time, the event was a little more personal. I did say, as before, that I can't speak for authority for all trans people. Much as I may occasionally want to know what goes on in the head's of others, realistically, I can only say hand on heart, what goes on in mine. I can generalise, but it will always be that.

We were a little late starting, as I was in the crowd of attendees, and the organiser slipped out to see if the guest speaker - Muggins, here - had turned up. After some confusion and some polite laughter, we started. Apparently, I wasn't supposed to make any political gags, given that it's the UK Election. Still, it's not like we have any Right Wing media establishments who aren't in need of polite satire.... :-)

I started with around 12 slides and as the questions came in, I abandoned my planned script, and just improvised through it. I covered some of the terms we use, some of our trans history and how the language had changed, as the trans community had changed.

The audience were engaged and asked some interesting questions. One asked how she could broach the subject with some of her very religious colleagues, but not cause an arguement. Some around not saying the wrong thing, some around clarifying what I'd meant, and also what would I, as a trans person, like to see happen next.

As I heard Erasure sing in the car ride home - really, they should sort out their own transport :-) - my answer would be, A Little Respect. Enough for us to just be who we are. To be able to go about our working and social life as we like to appear, and just be.

I think I was pushing on an open door with this audience, and I hope they can take the message to others and keep the acceptable vibe going.

Maybe one day, we won't need a day to remind folk not to discriminate. Wouldn't that be good?

Take care,
Lynn


6 comments:

  1. A lot of discrimination may be due to simple ignorance of the subject, trans people are some what of a rarity, being able to actually sit down and talk on neutral ground with a trans person is even harder. So what are you left with? The stories that the 4th estate publishes, views like the twit Piers Morgan generates etc.

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    1. Sometimes, yes. I still stand by the two lines from my parents:

      1. If you've nothing nice to say, don't say anything.
      2. Think about how the person will feel, if you say something.

      I'll be honest and say I don't always remember, but I think a bit of empathy isn't a bad place to start from.

      All that said, the ability to say "ask me anything", is a chance for people to do just that. Really, there's not much that someone hasn't asked or yelled at some point :-)

      Oh, rule 3: try not to be a dick.

      That seems to cover a lot of bases ;-)

      Lastly, I was surprised at the level of trans awareness the group had, as that was in a good way. Maybe the tide is turning.

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    2. You may still run in to politeness or peer pressure issues.
      1. Some people can be to polite to ask you the really awkward questions.
      2. Some people may fear questions from their own social group if they are publicly caught asking to many interesting specific questions.

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    3. Yup, to both of those. I've asked previously for anonymous questions in advance, and that can work. Also, offering the same at the end.

      It's not perfect, but you do what you can. The main thing is, so long as they're not bored! :-)

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  2. I can't think of anyone I would rather have as someone who speaks for us: you are kind, intelligent, quick thinking, funny and beautiful inside and out. Your experience has been fought for and you've known tough times. I'm not at all surprised they asked you back.

    I'm intrigued: how did you suggest they broached religious people...?

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    1. Thanks for the very kind words, Rhi. I think we've all had to fight at some point. Even at a very personal level: that self acceptance does not come easily.

      To try and answer your question, I recounted a story about a vicar I know. She was challenged by some, Daily Heil style regulars, when some gay Christians wanted to attend. Despite their protests, she said "these are exactly the people we should welcome, and your treatment of them does not match the Lord's teachings..." Go vicar :-)

      The thing is, that people will use things to justify their bigotry with what they can. Religion, stats, science, etc, it doesn't matter, so long as they can twist it to fit their agenda.

      I closed with only the questioner knows her work colleagues, so much as openness and acceptance are good things, going in guns blazing, won't bring people across. Humanising 'the trans enemy' with stories and personal anecdotes may help.

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