In the Bullseye
And here we go.
Now that the various state legislative sessions are in full swing, the pawns of the fear-mongers have predictably trotted out their hate-fueled (and sure vote-getter) proposals. This year, however, having had their collective backsides repeatedly kicked on the subject of same-sex marriage, and being able to read the polls that tell them the majority of the public is steadily migrating away from their professed positions, they’ve had to search for their next target, and boy do they think they have a winner.
I speak of course, of trans people.
In Florida, Kentucky, Texas (4 separate bills!) and Minnesota (!) – and likely others I’m not listing here – high profile bills in the respective legislatures specifically target trans people, some going so far as to reward people with a bounty if the catch and report a trans person in the restroom of the “wrong” (as the bill defines wrong) sex.
That’s not the only front where the assault rages. Charlotte NC just voted down a measure to add protections for LGB/T people after a five hour hearing filled with anti-trans bathroom panic venom – despite the fact that every other major city in the state already has these protections. Meanwhile in cities ranging from Plano, Texas to Cleveland, Ohio the hucksters are playing the bathroom card to stampeded well-intentioned but naive voters into rallying against basic accommodations for trans people.
The bullseye is now squarely on OUR backs.
The question is – what are we going to do about it? Across the country a thin line of out and active voices are standing firm where these brush fires flare up, but they are FAR too few. For example: Charlotte has an estimated 775,000 citizens. The reliable, if not conservative, estimate is that 1 in 3,000 people are trans. Taking that figure as an accurate estimate, that means that within the city alone, not even counting the surrounding metro area or nearby cities, there are 2,325 trans people (assuming even distribution). Allowing for the folks who are children, or too unhealthy, or whatever is necessary but if only 1 in 4 of those people had shown up to the CC meeting that would have been 565 people at that meeting who were themselves trans, at 2 minutes of testimony apiece that would have been almost NINETEEN HOURS of testimony.
Where were they? If 1 in 10 show up that would have been 7 hours and 45 minutes.
The opposition bussed in people from outside the city to make their case, I trust I don’t need to suggest what busloads of trans people might look like if folks would leave their closet and get on the bus?
Look, I understand I’m being pretty harsh on the closeted and the stealth here, but don’t fool yourself that our opponents won’t come for you the very day your secret gets out. If we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will speak for us? When we keep silent and let the haters define us, those who might have been our allies don’t learn the haters are lying. Can we really complain that the bigots prevail if we silently let them go unchallenged?
The bullseye is on us – will we wear t or strip it off?
Photo by: Alvin Trusty