Opinions

Queer Bodies: Over-Politicized and Dehumanized

I think it’s safe to say that I am a political football right now. Key parts of my identity get tossed around by lawmakers all across this country.

_x000D_
_x000D_

When I turn on the news or scroll through different media apps, I am inundated with stories about how people who will never have my identities and experiences want to restrict those identities.

_x000D_
_x000D_

Take, for example, nearly every single 'bathroom bill' discussed in legislatures all over our nation. In an effort to “protect women and children” or whatever nonsense excuse they’re using this week, cisgender politicians want to legislate away trans people’s right to safely use the bathroom.

_x000D_
_x000D_

And, by extension, our right to exist in public. If I don’t have a safe place to do my business in a building, I’m not going in that building.

_x000D_
_x000D_

I am not the main target of this bill because I’m not the image of a trans person these lawmakers have in their heads when they spill harmful transphobic rhetoric all over their papers.

_x000D_
_x000D_

I’m a tiny, white nonbinary trans man. I am not what lawmakers mean when they say “men in women’s restrooms.”

_x000D_
_x000D_

And yet these bills put men in women’s restrooms because that’s what you get when you misgender trans people. That’s what you get with whatever HB2-lite law North Carolina is on now.

_x000D_
_x000D_

My very existence is political. My body is a battleground for lawmakers to take their frustrations and fears out on.

_x000D_
_x000D_

I can’t just turn off the news like my mother tells me to when the latest assault on the rights of my communities are trampled. For every issue covered by the media for five days to two weeks, a community lives in fear for much longer.

_x000D_
_x000D_

It’s baffling to me how those in power react when marginalized communities fight against our oppression in a political way. What, were you expecting us to be silent while you turned us into talking points on the House floor instead of humans?

_x000D_
_x000D_

If my body, my identity, and my human rights are going to be turned into a political object for lawmakers to argue over and TV talking heads to “show both sides of the story,” I will be political. I will vote, protest, write, call, and damned well run for office if I have to.

_x000D_
_x000D_

I am not going to stand idly by while some of my core identity is debated in Congress for constituent votes and media coverage. (I am a constituent and I am a member of the media. Hear me roar.)

_x000D_
_x000D_

I have so often heard the excuse from lawmakers and supporters of these anti-queer, anti-trans bills that it’s not about hating people like me.

_x000D_
_x000D_

“I don’t hate queer people. I just don’t support marriage equality.”

_x000D_
_x000D_

“I don’t hate trans people. I just want to keep women and children safe in bathrooms.”

_x000D_
_x000D_

Ah, such lovely “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric. If you’re complaining about me because my room is the messy room from Hell, that’s an appropriate tactic. If you’re denying me my fundamental rights because of parts of my identity that I cannot and will not change, not so much.

_x000D_
_x000D_

I wish these lawmakers would just admit they have some vendetta against queer and trans people. I have a tiny speck of respect for the ones that do: at least they’re honest.

_x000D_
_x000D_

But this coddling of their hatred in paper-thin excuses makes me so angry.

_x000D_
_x000D_

I am positive from the way some of Congress talks that much of the hatred and vitriol towards queer and trans people stems from ignorance. I believe people can truly hate that which they do not understand.

_x000D_
_x000D_

The solution is to teach tolerance. People are more understanding if they can link intangible concepts to actual people they know.

_x000D_
_x000D_

But it’s difficult for me and other marginalized people to try and embrace that solution. It’s not my job to be someone’s teacher. I’m not a textbook or Google.

_x000D_
_x000D_

Just because I am a political object and a political being does not mean that I owe anyone an explanation of my life. I don’t owe anyone a lesson in decency and my identity, especially if they’ve been horrid to my communities.

_x000D_
_x000D_

Because, of course, it is possible to be confused and ignorant and still be kind.

_x000D_
_x000D_

But nearly every day I hear about people like me being debated over in great halls of government.

_x000D_
_x000D_

North Carolina’s HB2.

_x000D_
_x000D_

Texas’s SB6.

_x000D_
_x000D_

Gavin Grimm’s legal quest to use the boy’s bathroom at his high school once — just once — before he graduates.

_x000D_
_x000D_

My body and identity and the bodies and identities of those like me have been politicized since before I was born. Before bathroom bills, it was marriage equality. Before that, it was anti-sodomy laws.

_x000D_
_x000D_

Look at contemporary reactions to the riots at the Stonewall Inn, Compton’s Cafeteria, and Cooper’s Donuts. Look at the Lavender Scare (which lasted much longer than its better-known sibling, the Red Scare).

_x000D_
_x000D_

Such ignorance, panic, and hatred towards queer and trans people in the political sphere has been going on forever. And I for one am damned well sick of it.

_x000D_

Facebook Comments

Categories: Opinions

Leave a Reply