I just finished writing a post about accepting and embracing transgendered people. At the very end, I decided to provide links to some blogs written by transgendered women. At that point, I realized that I am only familiar with a couple of them. Lisa and Queen Emily aren't the only two transgendered bloggers on the web. Yet, they were the only two that I could think of off the top of my head. Why is that? I can easily think of over two dozen cisgendered feminist bloggers. I can name at least a dozen blogs by people with disabilities and another dozen by people of color. However, two transgender blogs is the best that I can do. Or is it?
The only reason why I know about those two blogs is because both Lisa and Queen Emily have posted here on my blog. In other words, I didn't have to put forth any effort to find them. They came to me. So do I really deserve any credit for mentioning them in my last post? Not really.
Calling yourself an ally is a big deal to me. It's not enough to just say, "Yeah, I'm all for equality for those people" and then go back to happily ignoring all the issues they face but that's exactly what I've done. Do I regularly look for news about transgendered people in the media? Nope. Even if something falls in my lap, then I may or may not write about it here. Pretty convenient, isn't it?
I can afford to ignore it. I'm pretty slim. I have features that are fairly consistent with this society's ideas about what a woman looks like. I know that's a bit of a simplification given my status as a person of color and a person with disabilities. However, I think it's pretty clear that I'm talking about relative status here.
All other things being equal, being transgendered means having an extra layer of oppression and marginalization that cisgendered people with the same basic characteristics (e.g. race/ethnicity, age, disability status, income bracket, sexual orientation) just don't face. At least, that's what I think as a result of all that I've observed. The truth is, I can't know exactly what being transgendered means unless I make more of an effort to seek out and listen to the voices of transgendered people. Otherwise, I'm just doing the same thing as those who deem it appropriate to speak on behalf of people like me without ever taking into consideration what I have to say about my experiences.