They Are All My People: Transgender Diversity and Inclusion, Privilege and Power

I have written many times about privilege and power. Many times about the isms and phobias that leave children without parents, and parents without children, and . . .

I suspect this will likely not be the final time I will feel called to share my thoughts about these things.

In a life-long war to carve out space for my existence, to help create safe and welcoming space for TGNC (transgender and gender non-conforming) human beings, I have come to a very simple conclusion - They are all my people.

Yes, of course this means all TGNC people are my people. But it also means that all people are my people. If I wish to be known as a transgender activist, I must stand against racism. I am not truly a transgender activist, unless I am also an activist for transgender people of color, for all people of color.

I must stand against homophobia. I must stand against ableism, classism, Christianism, and misogyny. I must stand against the mythical binary that serves no other purpose than to keep straight, white men in power. And within the LGBTQ+ population, it serves to keep gay, white men in power.

Not pulling any punches here. It is far too important for that. If we don’t address these issues now, there will not be an America left to make great.

When I was young, privilege was something people occasionally talked about. I thought about it and decided privilege wasn’t right and I should not participate in it. In my naiveté, I thought by staking such a claim I had absolved myself all responsibility of dealing with privilege.

In the course of my journey into authenticity, the world stopped seeing me as male and began seeing me as female. All of the sudden, I began to understand what privilege is truly about.

As I began to experience the truth about male privilege, I discovered it had never been possible for me to not participate in male privilege. And it has never been possible for me to not participate in white privilege or any other privilege which has been unfairly endowed to me.

When I look at the diversity within the TGNC population, I begin to understand another truth about privilege. The demographics for people whose gender identity does not fit into the mythical male/female boxes, are the same demographics as those of people for whom the boxes are not uncomfortable.

I write this column against the backdrop of Charlottesville, Virginia; the terrorist actions of white extremists; and the failure of government - at all levels - to stand up against racism. Not just in Charlottesville. All across America.

My people, trans and gender non-conforming people, will never be free until all races, all abilities, all socioeconomic classes, all religions are free. My people will never be free until women of all orientations and identities are no longer victimized by misogyny.

That’s kind of the point, I suppose. After all, they are all my people.

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