By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist—
Actress and trans activist Laverne Cox recently released a statement concerning her thoughts on why some people use restrooms as a means of denying transgender people their rights.. Evidently, these folks think that trans people don’t really exist and that is why that they are making such a big fuss about the bathrooms. I think that Laverne hit the nail on the head with her comment. These folks do not believe in the existence of trans people even though the medical profession has said that we do exist. To say that we don’t exist is to deny our existence. Why do they think like this and do they realize what harm that they are doing by denying our existence?
I have been a trans activist since 2004. I have lobbied in federal buildings in Washington D.C. and in the state houses in Connecticut and Massachusetts. I have noticed the backlash against trans people fighting for rights. The backlash comes from bills introduced by extremist Christian groups.Interestingly enough, I never saw any other religions pushing these bills, not Muslims, not Jews, not Wiccans, Druids, heathens, or Buddhists, etc., but only Christians. Now, I am not saying that all Christians are behind these bills as I personally know many Christians who totally support our rights, but rather it is the extremist Christians who are raising the fuss. Why are these folks raising such a big fuss? Is it because their particular God is a vengeful God with fire and brimstone or something of that matter? Why are they not accepting like other Christians? Are these extremist folks a fringe element? Why are they not accepting of the existence of trans people? I don’t really know why they think like this.
What I do know is that being a trans person is not easy. Before the medical profession acknowledged our existence I personally have been dismissed, labeled as crazy, delusional, narcissistic, selfish, and have endured slurs such as he-she, shim, girly man, funny boy, weirdo, pervert, sexual deviant, undesirable, and others that don’t come to mind right now.
It was tough enough to work through who I really am and to accept who I really am without these awful comments aimed directly at me. Ask other trans people about what they’ve been called and endured. It’s no wonder that the suicide attempts of trans people is so high. No, it’s not easy being green, as Kermit the Frog once said.
Nowadays, since the medical profession has acknowledged our existence it has gotten easier but there are groups of people who still think and believe that trans people have a disorder of some kind. Some of these folks even think that trans people can be cured of this “disorder.” These folks are not on the same wavelength as the rest of the world. I’m not sure I know how to get them on board with reality.
What really gets to me is that these folks are now raising a big stink about trans youth in the schools (https://goo.gl/1mZDQA). As I mentioned before, it’s tough enough being a trans person without the awful name calling and forcing a child to endure this is nothing short of outright abuse. I commend the school systems that support trans children. I also commend the parents of trans children because they accept their children as trans and they back them and fight for their child’s rights. Adolescence is a tough enough time for anyone, but to add this hurtful opposition and abuse towards them because they are trans is unspeakable.
I don’t know how to teach someone who denies the existence of trans people. If you don’t understand it I don’t know how you will understand it, except possibly to open up your hearts. To the extremist Christians who push these awful bills against trans people I ask them, “What would Jesus do?” Think about it, what would Jesus say about trans people?
*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a trans woman who has three grown children and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.