What trans people mean when we say “misgendering is violence”

Content Notice: Dissecting hate speech, TERFs and transphobia

I’d like to introduce you to a concept, of which there seem to be multiple sources or authors. It’s often called The Violence Pyramid, or another derivative thereof. As would be suggested by the notion of a pyramid, each level facilitates movement to the one above it, the same way one builds a pyramid. In this case, reaching the top is not desirable.

Source: cindywatt

Also from cindywatt:

Psychotherapist Howard Halpern, in a brilliant New York Times piece in 1995, gave a spot on summation of gradual escalation of hate and violence.  He said, “ Social psychologists and demagogues have long known that if ordinary citizens are to be provoked to violent actions against individuals or groups of fellow citizens, it is necessary to sever the empathic bond with those to be attacked by painting them as different and despicable.   We are unlikely to harm a friendly neighbor because she has strong views about equal rights for women, but if we call her a “femi-Nazi,” she becomes “the other” — evil, dangerous, hated.  We are unlikely to harm the couple down the block who are active on behalf of protecting endangered species, but if we call them “environmental whackos,” they become “the other” — weirdos who must be vilified and suppressed as enemies to “normal” Americans. When our shared humanity with those with whom we disagree is stripped away, it becomes acceptable to blow them up. The answer is certainly not to censor such speech, but those who recognize this danger must challenge it wherever it exists, even in those with whom we politically agree.” 

Not to pull a Godwin, but the above proposed pyramid is practically a timeline for Hitler’s rise to power. He unified a particular demographic of Germans and whipped them into a froth over how unfairly they were treated, then he tapped into a pre-existing prejudice (antisemitism) and over the course of his election, and after it, gradually escalated his chosen boogeyman until at least some Germans–enough Germans–felt justified in state-sponsored violence against Jews.

When I react strongly to misgendering, this pyramid is what comes to mind. The bottom stripe mentions “insensitive remarks and non-inclusive language.” I have to wonder: This person is already denying me a critically important aspect of my identity–is there anything else they will take hostage?

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What do the Cologne rapes and the Pulse shooting have in common?

Y’all didn’t have a single iota of fucks to give about violence against minorities until you could blame a Muslim for it.

Content Notice: Mentions of suicide, a description of the murder scene, plus the stuff that is probably apparent given the title of the article.

I speak, of course, of a very particular tract in this conversation, which means if this doesn’t sound like you, then this post isn’t directed at you. If you want an even hand, a level contribution to the discussion, go here or here. I’m sure there are other very reasonable arguments being made, but I need you to understand one thing:

Orlando was a message, and I am among its recipients.

This is not something I can cover without breaking into tears. This is not something I can cover without being reminded why high bridges and the edges of knives look so attractive. This is not something I can cover without picturing my family, my chosen family, on the floor of that nightclub, their phones ringing in their own blood while I’m frantically calling them. This is not something I can cover without thinking about all the stupid snapchats and videos and pictures they send me, knowing that in different circumstances it could have been footage of the last seconds of their life.

This is not an issue I have the benefit of distance from. I can’t lounge around in a chair and pontificate from the pipe in my hands.

A lot of people are jumping into this conversation. And it’s bad enough that I can’t simply mourn this attack on my community, it’s bad enough that I can’t even be angry at who I want without cishets shouting at me and telling me how I should be outraged, it’s bad enough that my Queer Latinx brothers and sisters witness this crime be literally whitewashed, I have to find that my attempts to seek out solidarity, are met with people who have never shown any inclination for giving a single fuck about anti-queer violence until it was a brown man who pulled the trigger.

This is shady as fuck. I see you, crawling out of the woodwork.

Where the fuck was your outrage, when trans women were dying in the streets at the hands of cis men?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when the pressures placed upon us claimed a body count that was nearly a coin flip?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when Queers were offing themselves because they had been told, over and over, by Christians and Muslims and Atheists alike, that their lives were disgusting and unimportant?

Where the fuck was your outrage, when North Carolina stripped Queer Americans of their rights?

Were you at the vigils?

 

The Edmonton vigil for Orlando

The Edmonton vigil for Orlando

 

Source: wiki commons

 

 

Were you at the protests?

protest2

Also the Edmonton vigil.

 

Source: static DNA India

The parades?

Source: Edmonton 2016 Pride festival, edmontontourism.

Source: Edmonton 2016 Pride festival, edmontontourism.

The fucking memorials??

Source: Times of Israel

 

 

Where the fuck have you been?

I don’t believe for a moment that you give a shit about Queer people except for our utility in being the foundation of your hate. When you’re absent from everything to do with us, when you’re ignorant of the violence we face from every organized religion and then more outside it, nearly every culture on this fucking planet, you can’t suddenly claim to give a shit about Queer deaths. I could paint my walls with the mugshots of every person who has murdered one of mine, and yes, there would be brown folks up there, black folks up there, Asian folks up there, and a whole lot of fucking white folks up there too.

But you are silent, absent, until now. Because the shooter claims membership to the Almighty Boogeyman of your fragile fucking psyche, has a brown name and brown skin, and is nominally a Muslim.

Islam is used to justify homophobia. Christianity is used to justify homophobia. Judaism is used to justify homophobia. Pseudoscience is used to justify homophobia. Racism is used to justify homophobia. Sexism is used to justify homophobia. DO YOU THINK I FUCKING CARE WHY SOMEONE SHOOTS ME?

Don’t you fucking tell me who I should be afraid of, that I ought to spurn the Queer Muslims holding my hand at the vigil, that the Christians offering prayers condemning hate and violence ought to be shunned, that the First Nations howling their grief in Cree as they appeal to someone or something I’ve never been introduced to are not my allies, because they believe in something impossible. They were there. You weren’t. Their tears were as real as mine. They may believe in fairy tales but at the end of the day, they were still fucking there, they’ve always been there, and they will continue to be there.

I know exactly who to watch.

After all, he was a gun-toting, queer-hating, hypermasculine, wife-beating, aspiring cop who shared fantasies about killing people. He’s your fucking poster boy.

-Shiv

Source.

Sizable minority of Canadians oppose Bill C-16

=AtG=

MetroNews collected not only some opinions on Bill C-16 and the concept of extending explicit protections to trans Canadians, but also the demographic data of the respondents. So who is actually against and in favour of the Bill?:

The poll found most Canadians to be in favour of the provisions included in the proposed legislation.

Three in four Canadians (74 per cent) agree with a provision in Bill C-16 that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and gender expression, and 71 per cent are in favour of updating criminal laws to make it a hate crime when someone is targeted because of their gender identity and gender expression.

In addition, two thirds of Canadians (65 per cent) agree with extending hate speech laws to include the terms gender identity and gender expression.

So why is Metro more optimistic about the findings than I am? Simple: It all falls apart once you actually apply  those protections.

A majority of Canadians (55 per cent) think transgender Canadians should be allowed to use the public bathroom of their choice, while one third (32 per cent) believe their public bathroom use should be based exclusively on biological sex.

There’s a discrepancy here–26% of respondents were not in favour of adding explicit protections to trans Canadians, so if the respondents actually knew what the fuck they were talking about, we would expect close to the same amount opposing the use of appropriate facilities for trans folk. Yet it jumps up to 32% when you actually frame the issue as being about bathrooms. On the inverse, 74% of respondents agreed it was wrong to discriminate against trans folk, but you ask them about washrooms and the portion of supporters sinks to 55%. The bathroom question doesn’t add up to 100% because the rest answered in one of the ambivalent categories.

Now are there any differences by demographic response?

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