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Leefstyl | Lifestyle > Gay > Rubrieke | Columns > Christina Engela: Fundamentally Speaking

Grow a pair


Christina Engela - 2010-09-21


 

Sadly, most trans people like being in the closet too much to get involved in educating the public on trans issues. I know of some others here in my city, and every one of them is flatly uninterested in exposing themselves to public view – leaving trans activism to non-trans people – and broadly speaking, giving them the opportunity to blame a lack of progress on others.

Yes, of course it’s not easy exposing yourself to the world as a trans person – it’s hard enough trying to convince ignorant family members that you don’t get a thrill out of wearing women’s underwear, or like playing with little boys like some of those paedophile Catholic priests do – and as usual, we are so ashamed to be trans we could never accept the idea of actually being proud of who we are or for our achievements as trans people. In fact, we set out to spend the rest of our lives denying that we ever left the factory with slightly different equipment before having an "upgrade" – or even that any such "upgrade" ever took place.

It’s safer to slide over from one side of the closet to the other, rather than stepping out and taking a stand by being visible. It’s safer to continue letting people get away with judging you and persecuting you for who you are or how you were born. It’s more convenient to keep your mouth shut while people continue to call women "him" or "it" and to discriminate unfairly. It’s so much easier for some of us to blame the so-called "cis-gays" for the lack of advancement in civil rights battles, rather than looking at ourselves for not having the gumption to get involved in advocacy organisations ourselves or simply starting our own.

If you’re confused about the term "cis-gay", it refers to gay people who are not gender-variant – in other words, non-trans people who are gay. While it may come in useful to describe certain antagonists within our Pink Community who make hypocrites of themselves by fighting for gay rights while neglecting to include trans and intersex rights – it is just another unwelcome label to be slapped on one part of our Pink Community by another part, and further, just another way to hammer those splitting-blocks into the cracks even harder.

Yes, blame the "cis-gays" – some of them are only fighting for their own civil rights and equality – while some of them who actually know what trans people are and care, include us with them. So why aren’t you fighting too? Do you think generals fight wars alone? Are you a "passenger" criticising the conduct of the driver? Are you in the back seat, not willing to do anything to change things, but have a lot to say about those who are trying to make a difference in their own way? Can you do any better? Well, can you? What’s stopping you?

Every two days, a trans person is reported killed somewhere on Earth. That’s about 153 people a year – 153 of us. It’s being called a slow decentralised genocide, and I agree with this conclusion. It is hate when you kill someone for what they are, making it a hate crime. And hate is a universal human characteristic – anyone can hate, and anyone can be hated. Anyone can die. When is it going to be your turn? When will it be mine? Do you think things will just get better if you pretend to be the proverbial ostrich with your head stuck in the sand? Will death pass you by because you’ve closed your eyes and you think it won’t see you? Really? Isn’t it about time you did something about it?

I think it’s ironic that a trans woman who had the guts to have hers removed has to tell other people to "grow a pair".

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. And you can’t fight for your rights without showing people who you are. I’m doing it – and nobody’s fired me or killed me for it yet. What’s your excuse?