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Commentary: Trans Progressive

It seems everywhere I look, mainstream, LGBT and conservative Christian journalists are reporting about, and opining on the Orlando mass murder at Pulse, as well as lawmakers saying things and taking votes.

If we’re going to talk in terms of groups of people, instead of us as individuals, for a moment, we all see random, impersonal death that came from malevolent intent.

Beyond that, it’s as if we haven’t witnessed the passing of the same 49 lives and the physical wounding of 53 more.

I see erasers.

As almost everyone in the LGBT community knows – as almost everyone in the entire U.S. knows – Pulse is an LGBT bar in Orlando, Fla. It was at a Latinx night there when a mass murderer, who swore allegiance to ISIS, took an assault rifle and a pistol to the bar to shoot over a hundred people. About half of those who died were of Puerto Rican descent.

Throughout the coverage of, and reaction to the mass murder, some part of the tragedy, or some part of the people who were directly impacted by the tragedy, were erased.

It was seen in mainstream cable media’s initial coverage of the mass murder, when it wasn’t mentioned that Pulse was an LGBT bar, or that it was a Latinx night and the victims were almost all Latinx were mentioned.

Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott and state Attorney General Pam Bondi faced criticism in the days after the mass murder for not mentioning the LGBT community in their public remarks about it. Lawmakers across the nation generically offered prayers for victims and their families when in previous years these same lawmakers fought against the victims’ ability to have families through marriage.

In a bar that served the entire LGBT community, what media covered any bisexual people killed? A Williams study indicated that 64 percent of LGB families with children have at least one partner that’s bisexual: there were several among the dead who had children. If there were any bisexual people among the dead, lack of coverage erased their identities.

I’ve read several pieces in the religious right press that want to blame “radical Islam,” and erase the victims. Perhaps the worst example of hate was found in a Family Research Council email. In one linked story they talked about how “the Left is still twisting this massacre into an opportunity to shove Christians and radical Muslims under the same umbrella.” Yet in another linked story on the same day, the FRC demonized trans women as voyeurs, or people who enable them. “In Target, yet another man was caught ‘peeping inside a unisex changing room.’ Now that the chain’s bathrooms and fitting rooms are open to everyone, moms and dads are either shopping elsewhere or increasingly wary.”

Personally, I’m reminded of the 2012 Harvard Law Review article Civil Rights Reform and the Body by Tobias Barrington Wolfe. He listed four things socially conservative people of faith and lawmakers offer LGBT community members as solutions in their plan to systematically erase us: convert us, “cure” us, closet us, and kill us.

Islamic fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism; I fail to see a difference of effect for LGBT community members. Their solutions seem the same.

In my own experience, I went through ex-trans therapy as a Pentecostal in the late 1970s; my experience was being told to pray the gay – I mean “transvestite” – away, and deepen my faith. I was offered conversion, faith as the cure, and a life in a closet.

And, this is what fundamentalist, “radical Islam” teaches their LGBT people of faith as well: pray, and deepen their faith.

At Pulse, we had a radical person professing a fundamentalist faith kill 49 mostly Latinx LGBTQ community members, and injured 53 more. Through death, he erased 49 community members.

And with terror, with fear, he’ll likely functionally closet more LGBT community members, and leave other Latin and/or LGBT community members afraid to leave their homes. That, by function, are what hate crimes are supposed to do.

We have the terrible burden of going out into the world and being who we are within all of our minority intersections so we can change the world. And, we are changing the world.

But, we do this knowing that at all of those intersections where we live – gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, black, Latinx, API, disabled, veteran, old, young, etc. – we may find ourselves, morally, legally, or even physically erased.

Erasers have many kinds of erasing weapons.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=71572

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016. Filed under Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “Erasers”

  1. I cannot believe this, I want the last three minutes back.

    Okay lets paint with a broad brush. Islamic fundamentalism is not the issue, even moderate members of that religion believe Gays, TG Lesbians etc, along with women who won’t submit to “The Law” should die. So don’t think you are so special, even fundamentalist Christians are not that bad, not the ones who are truly Christian. You should really do your homework better next time.

    By the way, you should well know that you are responsible for your own safety, not the police. When seconds count the police will be there in minutes remember that. Learn to defend yourself for Christ’s sake, or get a firearm and a CCW that is what some of us have already done, others have more useful means to defend ourselves. And remember also, you are far better explaining to the judge why you stabbed your attacker, than having your friends grieve over your death.

    I seriously don’t understand why so many in the TG community feel defenseless. I’ve been attacked in this city 4 times since 2000 and all my attackers went away hurting, one bleeding badly. I follow my own advice.
    Learn to defend yourselves, get a weapon, practice, and most of all keep a cool head.


    • Fundamentalist Christians ARE that bad though. The only reason they aren’t killing us in the street is because we have a pretty strong government owing to not having had a giant military systematically bomb us into submission for years on end. I have had moderate, progressive Christians say that me and my other queer friends should die – to my face. The Bible clearly states that unbelievers must be put to death. The Pulse shooter wasn’t a “true” Muslim, so I don’t know why you are trying to inject “true” Christians into things. If they say they’re Christian, they are Christian.

      Also, if I go out dancing, I want to dance. Not carry around a big chunk of dangerous metal weaponry that somehow, is only necessary in the U.S. We are the only modernized place in the world where it is seen as necessary to do that. If I fight back, the attacker gets to tell the judge that I look creepy and then the only one being prosecuted is me.

      • Justice M
        You are wrong regarding the US being the last modernized country wherein the citizens are unarmed. Switzerland also is among the countries who’s citizens are not disarmed.

        As for Fundamentalist Christians; the Bible does not prescribe death to homosexuals, all it says is the practice of homosexuality is a sin. And I certainly wouldn’t call the group that hangs out at Pride parades moderate or Christian for that matter, they are a perversion of Christianity.

        It is a shame really that the level of ignorance about Christianity in the LGBT community is equal to the ignorance some so called Christian groups have about the gay subculture.


  2. There seems to be a very, very fine line between fundamental religion and mental illness, of the sociopathic sort. I don’t know many Moslems but I’m surrounded by Christians, many of them fundies. What they don’t want to say out aloud to your face is alarming. BTW, here in Australia we are so glad we got rid of a great many firearms after the horrific Port Arthur massacre of 1996. As the whole world becomes more prone to terrorist attacks we feel much better that our then-right wing government bought back millions of dollars worth of weapons.

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