Historically, transgender people have faced a lot of discrimination (and, unfortunately, still do today) but, perhaps surprisingly, such discrimination has not just been directed at them from people who are homophobic, (Dave from next door but one whose just bitter that you’ve got a girlfriend when he can’t get one), but from members of the LGBTQ+ community themselves, who, for some inexplainable reason, see transgender people as, what? a ‘threat’? I really don’t understand the logic behind it.
As in the title of this post,
‘Do Lesbians Hate Transgender People?’
There has been evidence of discrimination from the LGBTQ+ community to the LGB(T)Q+ community dating back decades, since at least the 1970s, particularly among lesbians who have been known to refuse to acknowledge the plausibility for transgender women to even be lesbians.
!! Disclaimer: the above is not a blanket statement for all lesbians, by the way. Just as not all white people are racist, or all men are misogynistic, or all feminists are ‘manhating.’ Being transphobic is not the ‘norm’ amongst lesbians, it’s just a few ‘terf’s’- transgender-exclusionary radical feminists- who give lesbians a bad name… !!
Now, another disclaimer; it’s important to note here that by ‘discrimination’ I’m not referring to lesbians who wouldn’t date a transgender woman because; ‘they’re just not my type’/because they’re only attracted to women who are biologically female. In the same way that being gay is not an example of misogyny -men are not gay because they ‘hate’ women (I hope)- It’s about the reason behind someone saying that they wouldn’t be with someone…
Referring back to gay men as an example again, men are not gay because they ‘hate’ all women/because they have some sort of ‘God complex’ which sees them placing themselves on a pedestal above women, but because they just don’t find women sexually attractive. One is just personal taste- who we are, a human right- the right to love whoever we want to love, the other is pure discrimination for which there is no excuse.
No excuse*, and no rationality…
When a lesbian is simply a woman who finds other women sexually attractive, where is the logic in saying that lesbianism cannot exist in transgender women? If a transgender woman only finds women attractive, then she is a lesbian. This really should not be so difficult for people to understand…
*The only ‘excuse’ that I can think of (not that it does ‘excuse’ the discrimination, but that at least attempts to explain it a little bit) is that people feel threatened by the freedom of expression that we see in transgender people/by their confidence to be whoever they want to be/to refuse to perform for no one and to live everyday as their most authentic selves. However, something that’s incredibly important to remember though is that, behind the seemingly confident, ‘IDGAF’ exterior that we see in lots of trans people, there is likely many many years of pain-
looking in mirrors and being completely overcome with shame at the person looking back at them,
something as simple as going to the toilet being a mammoth task for which also sees them being overcome with shame;
‘Do I go in the men’s toilets and risk being punched in the face, or do I go in the women’s and risk being called a paedophile?’
I cannot imagine the strength that it must take to keep going, to stay true to who you know you are when the world around you is telling you that who you are is ‘wrong’…
Don’t Forget That The ‘T’ Sits Beside The L, G, B, Q+ — We are in this together, so why are we excluding people from a community that preaches unconditional love?
Everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, whether cisgender or transgender, will have at least some understanding of what it’s like to be told that who you are, that how you were born, is ‘wrong’, albeit to varying degrees.
Being queer (or being whatever you identify as being if you’re not straight), means that we all know what it’s like to feel ostracised, to feel like you’re ‘on the outside looking in/being told by the people who claim to ‘love’ you, unconditionally, that who you are is ‘just a phase.’
To act in a way that contributes to the discrimination, and upholds prejudice against transgender people then, people who are in our own community for which we know the historic battle that we’ve had to face ‘just’ to live, it’s cruel.
‘We’ve come full circle: The same bogus ideas that queers have spent decades fighting are now promulgated in our names, and sometimes from our mouths.’
Have we replaced with Homophobia with Transphobia?
Prior to 2003 it was ILLEGAL for schools to talk to children about gay relationships under the guise of ‘protecting our children…’
From 1998 until 2003, Under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, ‘section 28’ was introduced in England and Wales, making it illegal for local authorities, namely schools, to ‘promote’ homosexuality (i.e., to acknowledge its existence, in most cases). This has scarily close parallels to what we are hearing from Rishi Sunak’s government today surrounding ‘promoting’ transgender people. You’d have thought we’d have moved on from such blatantly prejudice thinking 20 years later but, evidently, we have not.
Just as homosexuality dates back to the beginning of time, so too does transgenderism. It’s not a ‘new’ phenomenon/the latest ‘craze’ of our generation, it’s just the terms that we use to describe it that are relatively new. And yet, despite the fact that evidence of transgenderism dates back to the Roman Empire;
‘During the reign of the Roman emperor, Elagabalus (C.E. 218–222), the male-born leader adopted feminine dress, requested to be referred to as ‘she’, and expressed a desire for genital removal surgery people are taking the stance that people are not ‘really’ transgender, that they are in fact ‘mentally ill.’
Shockingly, being transgender wasn’t uncategorised by the World Health Organisation as being a “mental disorder” until 2019… Now gender nonconformity is included in a chapter on sexual health, rather than being classified as a ‘gender identity disorder’ under the category of “mental disorders” as was the case previously).
Again, very similar parallels to what homosexual people used to be told, and why conversion therapy was used so much, in an attempt to ‘cure’ people of their homosexuality.
It’s Not All ‘Doom & Gloom’, There Has Been Some Progress
Thankfully, as education surrounding LGBTQ+ issues has increased in recent years, we have greater awareness and know that, actually, in the majority of cases, being trans or gay or anything else that’s not cishet, is not just a ‘phase’ at all.
With such increased awareness then, hopefully, as more people do come out as transgender/non-binary, in our increased awareness we will, despite what people of Rishi Sunak’s* mindset say;
‘There are only two genders- man and woman,
be able to validate them, rather than dismiss them.
*(Rishi Sunak who is, embarrassingly, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom).
But, evidently, there has not been enough progress.
Why do people continue to dismiss transgender people?
People like Rishi Sunak who continue to dismiss transgender people use their, what can only be described as small mindedness, as an excuse for what is really just plain bigoted hate (see below).
‘I don’t understand it. A man is a man and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense!!’,
(^) as Rishi Sunak so eloquently (note the sarcasm) said in his speech at the conservative party conference…
(Brb just adding ‘transphobes’ to my list of reasons why you shouldn’t vote conservative- yawn).
I get that it can be difficult for people to understand something for which they have no experience in but, to use the fact that you are not transgender as an excuse for transphobia is just ridiculous. I don’t understand what it’s like to be racially discriminated against, because I’m white, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the struggle that ethnic minorities have in dealing with racism on a, sometimes several times a daily, basis… I have no lived experience in racism, but I have empathy. I have the ability to be a decent human being.
In saying that you don’t believe in the existence of transgender people though, just because you are not transgender, in discrediting everyone who identifies as non binary, you are essentially discrediting their whole existence, not to mention being complicit in upholding discrimination and segregation.
The fact is that, whilst you might not understand something, it is on you to at least try to understand it…
If you’re of an older generation, for example, and you weren’t educated about transgender rights in school, then educate yourself now. Educate yourself on the difference between sex and gender (oh and, pass the reading material onto Sunak when you’re done)… Because, for all the people who are transgender, who don’t identify with what they were assigned at birth/who have spent their whole lives being told that they are something which they’re not, they do understand it, first-hand. They understand the torture that comes with being born in, not only a world that doesn’t feel like home to them, but in a body that doesn’t feel like home to them, too…
And so, the least we can do is stand with transgender people, united in our simplest wish, a wish that should be granted to us all, that shouldn’t even be a ‘wish’, but a birth right,
to discover what the quote
‘there’s no place like home’
find a home.
(even if that means building our own).
A home within which we are all afforded the right to be ourselves, regardless of whether or not our biological sex and gender identity align,
regardless of whether or not people grant us that permission,
to live boldly and fearlessly regardless of outside opinion,