I am angry…

This post is a long time coming, it’s not something I’ve suddenly realized in the last day or two. But three incidents happened this week and they pushed me over the edge. So here I am.

I’d been enjoying some Instagram on my cell phone before I got up one sunny morning. Pictures from friends, cute shots of animals, and then a picture Alok Vaid-Menon came onto my screen. I started reading… started discovering what their day’s like. Being verbally harassed. Being spat on once or twice a day. The realization that no one would come to their aid if they were attacked. People taking pictures of them to post online and mock and they’ve done nothing except being themself. They’re not hurting anyone. I cannot understand why someone would go out of their way to harm someone who is doing nothing wrong. What is the reasoning behind this? Sigh, I’m not sure I even want to know.

The second incident happened on Facebook. A friend of mine shared an article about a study that had been done regarding pronouns and I discovered that three people out of five will deliberately use the wrong pronouns for a trans person. Excuse me but really? You’ll apologize and make sure you use your friend’s cat’s correct pronouns but you can’t offer the same kindness to a fellow human? For fuck’s sake, the cat doesn’t even care. But the human certainly does. What is wrong with people that they can’t extend common courtesy to another person just because they’re perceived as different? There is nothing wrong with being different.

Then a page named Kialo showed up in my newsfeed with a discussion on whether trans women should have the same rights as cis-women by entering women’s only spaces. I know better but I still clicked on the link, commenting on the most egregious posts. It’s still going on (and on) with the usual arguments. Genitals trump all and trans women must be men. Trans women grew up with male privilege and therefore aren’t eligible for women’s spaces. Some cis-women have been assaulted before and trans women might trigger them – ignoring the fact that trans women get assaulted more than cis woman. And, of course, one lone idiot bleating “I’m not a cis woman. I’m just a woman”. Because Latin prefixes are so scary. I gave facts and rebuttals but I’m sure most of them went unread. Hopefully someone who’s wavering took a look and gained some knowledge. Who knows.

And I am so tired. I’m tired of the same damn arguments. The same lame “I identify as an apache attack helicopter” as if two hundred other assholes haven’t already used the same line. I’m tired of my friends being narrowed down to nothing more than their genitalia… being stripped of their humanity. I’m tired of them being nothing more to a whole swathe of people than a topic of discussion on a Friday night. I don’t want to have another discussion like that again. But I will. You know why? Because my friends are the ones being attacked and if I’m tired, they’re beyond tired of arguing their very existence. Because friends stay there for the hard times, they buckle down and say “I’ll help”. I can’t do anything physically or financially but I can be supportive and I can throw fact after fact at the bigots in hopes that one will stick.

Trans people are your family, your friends, your neighbours, your store clerks. They’re in the line up behind you. They buy their gas at the same station as you. You might not think you know someone trans but in reality you do. What are you going to do about this? Would you give a tissue to Alok and sympathize that they’d been spat on? Would you use the right pronoun if asked? Would you stand up via internet or in person for a trans person’s rights? It’s really scary standing up in person but it’s something you can do. Or are you going to be on the wrong side and ignore someone’s basic humanity. It’s up to you.

Matthew Shepard revisited…

The evening started out like usual. Kait and Colin played with their toys on the living room floor, my ex sat on the computer playing video games, and I read the paper. I started with the comics, moved on to the Life section, and then mosied on over to the Front section. And that’s where I dissolved into tears. Twenty-one year old Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming, accepted a ride home from two men he thought were friends. Instead they drove him to a rural road, tied him to a fence, and beat him nearly to death with their rifles. He died of severe head trauma six days later.


Photo from GBMNews

I cried while I read his article. Ugly cried to the point where my ex asked why I continued to read. But I couldn’t stop. At the time I told myself that I was crying for Matthew and for Colin, who was a sweet and gentle one year old at the time. I was also crying for me although I wouldn’t admit it. I clung to the label of “straight” like it was a lifeline although, to be fair, panromantic asexual wasn’t in my vocabulary in 1998. And it hadn’t been that long since I’d been a college student myself.

Now Colin’s 21 years old and part of the LGBTQIA community. He’s in continuing education, getting the education he couldn’t receive in high school, and planning on taking robotics. He’s young and bright with his whole future ahead of him. I worried for him every day when he was Emma and I still worry for him, albeit much less.

Matthew Shepard was also young and bright. A well travelled young man who loved politics and was studying it in university. He’d have been 40 years old now. What would he have accomplished as a gay HIV positive man to help the LGBTQIA community? What would he have fought for? What dreams did he have? What goals? What potential did we, as a society, lose when we lost him?

I still cry. I don’t think there’s a day when I read about him that I won’t.


Watching the train wreck…

There was a missed call and a message on my phone when I got on the bus after work. They were from Emma and she had news about her father. Could I please call her back? I looked up as the bus stopped and Emma got on board; I don’t usually run into her on the bus so that was a surprise.

She sat beside me then said with a wide grin, “Guess what? Dad got arrested!”

I thought I’d misheard her at first but after a moment I managed to ask what for. Had he tried to sell his old pain medication? Was he caught buying pot? Her answer wasn’t one I’d come up with and yet it wasn’t a surprise. He’d assaulted his ex-girlfriend, the same woman he’s been stalking and harassing for several months now. He doesn’t like it when women break up with him before he’s ready. I know that from personal experience.

My first comment was inane. “I need to apologize to our mediator.”

Emma gave me a blank look.

“She worried about me,” I explained. “She thought your Dad was going to try to hurt me and I told her not to worry. I guess I should apologize except…”

Except it had been so long, I couldn’t even remember her name. Besides, there was no way she’d remember me.

Emma went on to say that her Dad had been released but had to go back to get fingerprinted. She and Mark were trying to figure out how he’d miss his appointment. Maybe he’d just sleep in or they figured he might to the hospital the night before with chest pains. Then she wondered how he’d react in court. Would he get angry and lash out like he does often? Maybe he’d get probation or put under house arrest.

And then she was gone, hurrying off the bus with Mark’s younger brother, who’d coincidentally gotten on the bus a stop after Emma. She’s coming over for dinner tomorrow night.

I quickly called Jeremy to see how zie felt about the news. Zie sounded more resigned than anything else. “It’s not like it’s a surprise,” zie muttered. And zie’s right. Their Dad gets more callous and self-centered with each passing year.

Jeremy says zie’s fine with what happened. Zie almost never sees zir father and just as rarely hears from him. But zie’s been on edge all evening, snapping and wanting to rant about anything and everything. The latest was a rant on how the government (I have no idea which one) is too lazy to restrict model airplanes to lower air space. Ironically zie doesn’t actually want those restrictions because the best videos come from the highest planes. This quickly segued into how gamers are being discriminated against because of inflated statistics that claim all video gamers are violent. Or maybe it was just 98%. Or maybe zie’d pulled that figure out of zir ass… but zie’d read it a while ago. I think I whimpered around then. Jeremy’s thankfully back watching videos and hopefully relaxing.

I’ve told people before that observing my ex is like watching a very slow train wreck. Everyone knows it’s going to end badly; the only questions are when and how bad. It’s a ride I’m glad we’re no longer on.

Edited to add Emma’s view of the situation.

I try not to post twice in one day but…

This just showed up on my Facebook page via Support for Grayson and felt it was a story which needs to be shared. As usual, I’ve linked the story to the picture. Hopefully he and his family will talk to the police soon and even more hopefully something positive will be done. I don’t know which is more heartbreaking, what happened or the comments that where made afterwards.