The recent wash of transphobia through the Pagan community has made my bubble of safety even smaller. I have a few things to say about it, as you might imagine.
People discounting this as “just a complex social issue” aren’t taking into account the words that are being used. The petition that prominent Pagan Elders (and their supporters) have signed calls out trans women as dangerous and deluded. It feeds directly into the second-wave feminist viewpoint of transgender women being men who medically alter their bodies to sneak into womens’ spaces and rape them.
The language used in that petition is as much a legitimization for violence as it is a call for separation. It paints myself and people like me as dangerous, delusional, violent lunatics. This is not just “someones’ opinion” – this is an attack. I am not a rapist, I am only dangerous in that I like challenging peoples’ ideas (and not even really about gender) and if I’m delusional, it’s never harmed anymore, much less myself. Making these generalizations about trans women includes me.
If you are willing to use the authority and respect gained by being an acknowledged Elder in the Pagan community to spread this message, then you are encouraging an extant culture in which actual physical violence against me and people like me is overlooked, ignored, and encouraged. You are using your weight as an Elder to encourage people to think of me and people like me as dangerous, delusional, violent molesters. You are using the power granted you by virtue of the fact that people trust your words and look up to legitimize violence against people like me.
And then you have the nerve to complain when people like me speak out against your words.
I have no problem speaking out against and even shaming people who use their authority to encourage people to spread lies that will make the world less safe for me and my kin. I think people should be ashamed of spreading lies that encourage violence and separation against a group that already faces enough problems with violence. Far too often we die by someones’ hand, either our own because we’re told we have no place in this world, or others’ because they’re told that we’re acceptable targets.
Trans people, and especially trans women, are acceptable targets still. If this had been a petition that used the same language against people of color or gay folks then no one would be calling them out for shaming them. Instead we have members of our own community rallying to their side, speaking out against those of us who are crying out in pain and fear, telling us that we should keep quiet, keep our heads down, and listen to the Elders that encourage violence against us, apparently out of love and compassion. We are still acceptable targets, and those very same lies that are being told about us have (and in some cases still are) been used against the other (sometimes overlapping) minorities mentioned above.
Call me out on shaming people who use the trust that others have in them to add public support to a campaign that legitimizes violence against me, and I’ll call you out as well. You should be ashamed, whether you’re supporting this petition or those who sign it without thought of consequence to real, living human beings like me who I guarantee you aren’t lying, insane, violent rapists and monsters. You should be ashamed, you who preach tolerance of human variety, in making one of the few cultural spaces that are even somewhat safe for us less so.
That is making war on (like, as in, actual violent war) myself and my people, and that is not something that I’m going to meekly bow and turn the other cheek to.