ErasersTrans Progressive Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
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