Saturday, April 11, 2009

I am thrilled, and grateful

I'm thrilled about all the recent victories around the country for the GLBT community. True marriage equality in two states, Iowa and Vermont, in the space of 4 days! Both of these states had transgender inclusive nondiscrimination laws already in place. I think its wonderful that they did it in that order.

I'm particularly grateful, however, for what happened in New Hampshire where the House actually voted to a do-over on the inclusion of gender identity and expression in their nondiscrimination law after it was defeated the first time around. When they redid their debate and vote enough representatives withstood the dishonest propaganda of those who wanted to continue their discrimination, in order to pass the bill by 1 vote, 188-187. While the bill has an uncertain future in the New Hampshire senate, I think it's absolutely wonderful that the House, and the GLBT people who worked hard for this bill, were willing to go the extra yard for this result.

One thing I rarely, if ever, see written about is how these political issues affect the GLBT community emotionally. Once in a while there's a passing reference but no real sharing of the feelings people go through when they hear about these victories and defeats. For me, perhaps it's only me, it's personal. Maybe it's because I, as a former middle aged white man (well, sorta), came from the most privileged position in our culture before I transitioned. I get angry, really annoyed to the point of shouting at the computer monitor, at some of the dishonest propaganda and lame arguments used to argue against equal protection and treatment of GLBT people under the law. I also, sometimes, get really depressed when I hear of political defeats that came about because of the lies and distortions.

The message that I am not considered worth equal treatment, because my gender identity doesn't match what they told me I was when I was born, on top of the other stressors in my life, will often be the straw that breaks the often fragile moods I find myself in. It's easy to say, and it's reality of course, that these people don't know me, they are not judging me directly, it's not personal. On the other hand, though, the political defeats against equality for trans people are based on their prejudging me. They don't know me but they assume they do. I suspect, perhaps, had I grown up closer to the edges of our society this would just be the same old shit that I'd had to deal with since the beginning of my life. Coming from privilege, however, makes it all the more painful. And all the more real. Perhaps it's like gravity, short falls don't hurt as much as longer ones.