Many conversations our community has begin with the word “why”. Why can’t we wear what we want? Why doesn’t society try harder to understand us? Why aren’t we accepted as the gender we present as? Why are we treated so differently?
I think we all dream and strive for a world where no one thinks differently of us. A world where we are accepted for who we are. I know I do.
How do we get there? I’ve written before that even if the newspapers all over the world printed a headline that read “It’s Okay to Wear Whatever You Want”, it’s still not going to be “okay”. We cannot wait for that moment to come because it’s not coming. Even if it does, it still doesn’t mean that people’s minds will change about us. Laws are on thing, people’s attitudes and perspectives are another.
I believe that our community has the opportunity to show the world that we are just…people. We have this opportunity every time we go out. In every conversation we have. We are not deviants, perverts, or confused. We are not trying to fool anyone. We just want to live our lives.
So, how do we change the world? For a start, we can do small things. When I am in line at Starbucks I will often chat up the person next to me. In doing this, even if it’s small talk about the weather, I want them to know that I am a human being and hopefully they will walk away from that conversation, no matter how small, realizing that they just spoke with a t-girl and that maybe, just maybe, we are not the horrible people that we are sometimes portrayed as.
We can also make this change on a political level.
I can hear your eyes rolling.
I stand by my opinion that as a member of the trans community I never intended to make our community a political issue. It was thrust upon us.
From reporting by NPR, starting next month, the Pentagon will allow recruits to enlist only as the gender given to them at birth.
In addition to that, the Trump administration announced its plan to begin implementing their discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. The plan calls for the armed services to begin discharging transgender service members effective April 12, putting the honorable service of thousands of troops on the line, endangering their careers—and their very livelihoods (from The National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund).
The reason for these changes, according to the president, is because we a burden and he cited “tremendous medical costs” as a reason for the ban (from the Military Times).
This has been a long and dangerous fight and there’s no justification to the ban, according to the courts.
As of October 2017, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked the ban on transgender people serving in the military, which was set to take effect in March 2018. She stated that “there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects”. As three federal courts have ruled against the Trump administration’s ban, transgender people have been allowed to continue serving. However, the arguments surrounding the kinds of support the government provides transgender military personnel have continued to evolve on the basis of perceived financial strain. The catalyst for President Trump’s controversial decision – the debate over whether the military (and taxpayers) should be footing the bill for covering transgender service members’ medical care – will likely not disappear. Economic analysis of transgender military personnel health care costs can lead one to a logical conclusion on whether these expenses pose an undue burden that justifies the termination of coverage (from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).
What does this have to do with members of our community that are not serving in the military? Not only is this another distracting lie that has no basis in reality, but this is one more law that will create fear and prejudice of people like us. People will believe that our community is a burden, that we are expensive. It furthers the stereotype that all transgender people want surgery. This provides precedent to future or justification to keeping existing laws that will discriminate against us.
This is a major step back in an effort for equality or even normalcy for our community. This is, in a way, the opposite of newspapers printing headlines that read “It’s Okay to Wear Whatever You Want”. This is the president calling you and I a burden.
I am not a burden.
As members of the community, I believe we must push forward together. Support each other. Vote against politicians who implement laws that are based on fearmongering and lies about who we are.
You want to change the world? You want the world to be better for us? More accepting of us? Safer for us? I do too. This does not help.
5 thoughts on “I Am Not a Burden”
The military spends $84 million for erectile dysfunction, yet it could be argued that deployed troops should have little or no use for erections. Whatever small fraction of that amount that would be needed for transgender-related health care, though, would have as much, if not more, of a positive effect on the trans-individuals’ military readiness as would Viagra for another. It seems to me that this is reason enough to deflate the “burden” argument.
I can’t believe that the military would rather have a recruit who is silently suffering with gender dysphoria than one who is actively doing what’s necessary to correct it. Didn’t we already decide that “don’t ask/don’t tell” was a failed policy?
I was just thinking, this morning, that such a policy could easily be extended to all federal government employees. Beyond that, as you say, the “burden and expensive” stance serves to spread and (falsely) justify prejudice, misunderstanding, and discrimination throughout society.
Let’s show everyone on March 31st that we’re not a burden! Let’s be visible!
You bring up a very good point. What is stopping other parts of the government from doing this? Once a precedent is set it makes it easier to continue. Once it happens in the government, what stops it from happening in the private sector? Could my employer fire me because I am transgender under the justification that I am a burden?
I agree with your fightback against being seen as a burden Hannah.
I think the problem we face has two parts: society needs to create a demon, an “other” to unite the rest against, and
our templates for each of two genders is simplistic but self reinforcing.
Now we might just be at a turning point in our social evolution where both these issues might be seen as causing more problems than they are worth.
The demons society creates include the demon of Islam, capitalism, socialism, climate change, homosexuality, rich, poor, homeless, black, white and on and on. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. THERE IS NO OTHER. Our challenge is to overcome the us/them way of thinking.
The next is to start looking at the problems gender as we currently configure it, causes. This covers everything from acceptance of male violence, roughness, boys will be boys, winning, dominance and so much more to acceptance of females as second tier, emotional not intellectual, seducing, clinging, and again, so much more.
Behind each of these gender beliefs is a whole range of requirements such as men drink, women look pretty, men are everything we think of as masculine and women everything feminine.
Much of this is seen to not be of value today as we tackle the demands of feminism, domestic violence, male suicide and once again, so, so much more.
Let’s try and see the links between the rejection of transgender people and all of the above, and posit that to anyone who will listen.
That argument also becomes a little less self serving by including all those other burdens that the winners in society exclude (in the longer run to their own detriment)
what about the men that are gay? or the woman that are lesbians? don;t ask, don;t tell , as long as the people are doing their job to protect our county LET IT BE! if i was in the military and my partner was gay or a cross dresser i would not care as long as he or she has my back when it comes to fighting. president needs to worry about what is better for us like jobs, taxes, health care, not the wall or transgender people in the military. i have read allot of the post and they are great posts. i am a x dresser and so what i am human just like any one else in this world. i don;t bother no one.
I forgot to recognize the irony, in that the very school from which Trump graduated, with a BA in Economics, posted an article that totally destroys his “tremendous cost/burden” argument.
This is not about economics, however. It is about the tremendous cost to a few peoples’ sensibilities and the burden they place on themselves as they dwell on others’ lives. As much as I may feel sorry for such misguided individuals, I will continue to live as the person I am, and they can go ahead and think more about my gender identity than even I do. That is my two-cents worth for them, which is certainly a bit short of a tremendous cost. 😉