Jun. 23rd, 2011

johanna_alice: (Default)
I think the organisation I used to volunteer for has got something - one very specific thing - very wrong. Enough so that I've pretty much disregarded my own wellbeing and reputation in order to try to stop it directly. I'm not an ineffective activist in any way, so whichever way you look at my departure, it's a loss somewhere because I do still support the organisation in general. But I did it anyway.

It's about hate-speak and discrimination. I see one person openly denigrating another's equally valid identity as something that is akin to racism, religious intolerance and not giving disabled people a sufficient level of positive action that they can contribute effectively (but that last is straying a bit close to another wound so we'll move swiftly on). For an organisation that campaigns for LGBT rights and inclusion to tolerate such things being aired at an event it is running, without censure or challenge is (again to me) effectively providing a form of complicity and legitimacy to those statements. It's just not enough to sit back and say later that of course no one agrees with those statements, because obviously someone did and they have been allowed to present that point of view as one that is legitimate in others perceptions by virtue of the fact that it wasn't invalidated in any way by a person representing the organisation.

I feel very strongly about trans-issues. Not in an I want to be a community-leader kind of way, but in a way that says I will actively seek to promote positive engagement both within and without the community. I do that very well. And a person voicing internal transphobic-comments reduced me to a person who felt very alone and yet was determined to do something in order to prevent such things happening in the future. Today isn't about my methods, it's about the intrinsic unacceptability of the original act. It was wrong.

I'm also coming to the belief that it was also wrong for that organisation to allow a situation where one of it's participants felt a pressing need to object on moral grounds develop without positive intervention on it's part. I'm not talking about sitting me down and letting me talk it out here. That's all well and good for a personal trauma, but this wasn't a personal trauma, this was an act deeply offensive to my values. Something should have been done, because not doing so placed me in a vulnerable position.

Now I'm an adult and bear responsibility for my choices - even when I'm hypomanic. That's always a given. Being mentally ill is not ever a license to be rude and overbearing. But this was allowed to snowball without intervention.

Which brings me to the fall-out. I've submitted a suggestion to the board. Very definitely not a complaint, because I want positive change, not arse-kicking. Just that they look at their policy regarding responding to openly voiced internally-transphobic comments by participants at their events. Nothing earth-shattering or radical. I was promised an answer by yesterday and have been waiting, somewhat pessimistically, for it to come. It hasn't done. So what do I do next? Anything at all I could do will create a huge mess. Seriously. Yet I'm not willing to let this one go. If we let transsexuals openly call polygendered people inferior and voice opinions that transsexuals are more deserving of support, where does that end?

I'm not often sure of something. But I do know absolutely that every single one of us is unique and valuable as a person. The thing we all share is that we are equal and have the same rights and obligations as any other person. That's summed up in our human-rights. I'm taking it a little further than explicitly stated, but a person's freedom of expression can safely be argued to include their gender expression. To denigrate that is to attempt to limit that persons freedom of expression and potentially their right to wellbeing.

Discrimination is discrimination and I will not have it pass unchallenged in my earshot. Especially within a community that should know better after the amount of discrimination it has received from external sources.

There are so many options for what I **could** do next and I really need some help. I don't want to screw EN/STA over - we're on the same side and I like them. But equally so, such a situation should never happen again. They're supposed to champion ALL transgendered peoples rights, not just transsexuals. I've said it before and I'll say it again -

I'm someone who is medically classed as transsexual. I enjoy many rights and protections that those who have come before me have fought and suffered to get. When I talk to other transgendered people, I hear exactly the same stories about discrimination and abuse that were once more common for people like me. I don't want this equality except as a stepping stone to every transgendered person enjoying them too. I want my friends and fellows to have their equality. Mine isn't enough for me because I can still see people I care about suffering because of the lack of the medical label of gender-dysphoric.

So I will do **something**. Someone please tell me what is the least destructive thing I could do to encourage EN/STA to enact a zero-tolerance policy on internal-transphobia?


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