Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why We Can't Be Pro-Human Rights And Pro-Human Rights Campaign

From Queerty, we have the report of another trans woman who was beaten, this time in a 7-11 parking lot in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is terrifying and horrific. And of course Virginia doesn't have protections for trans people. Just a total nightmare.

Here is my question: How often does this shit have to fucking happen before we realize that gay rights is not just, or even mostly, about marriage? I am not denying that marriage equality is a social justice issue. But I take strong exception to it being the center of the fight right now. And I have heard the statistics that say that states that have marriage equality have lower queer suicide rates. I don't know how that correlation works, and I'm glad it's the case, but that's trickle-down social justice at best, and I ain't having it.

We need to be on the ground, where the people are. It's not enough to say you support marriage equality and then feel like you're being a good liberal. Lives are on the line. This person was beaten with a broken-off metal broom handle. I mean, damn.

But the mainstream gay rights movement is not only still mostly excluding trans people, the Human Rights Campaign - the most mainstream of them all - was founded on trans-exclusion. I cannot abide a movement that excludes anyone's humanity. And that is what is happening with the HRC. They are asking other people to wait, just sit still while they get some things they want. As a friend of mine said, they are looking to expand human rights by exactly one notch, and no more. That is not exactly working in the spirit of true humanism, is it?

When someone tells you that your movement is hurting them, why wouldn't you listen? This is not neutral ground. There are not two sides to this story - the pro-HRC and the anti-HRC side. The HRC has all the power, all the money, all the privilege. They get to have dinner with Obama. They are in the power system. They are not trying to make life better for the people, they're trying to make life better for them. The trans people getting the shit beaten out of them will just have to fend for themselves. This is reinforcing the privilege in society overall: cis white men are at the top of the heap. I hate the heap. It has GOT to go. To support the Human Rights Campaign is to support the heap, with the cis white men at the top of it. It is to align yourself against trans inclusivity, and against the rights of people the HRC has deliberately distanced itself from since day one.

They don't want to include trans protections in the legislation they fight for, they don't want to acknowledge the crucial role of the "visible queers" in the gay liberation movement, they don't want to talk about issues that don't resonate with middle-class privilege. And so while trans people continue to bear the visible scars of the movement, since they have done since Sylvia Rivera at the latest, they will keep asking for the right to get married. I'm just... over it.

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