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Homophobia and Transphobia: The last acceptable Prejudices

by Debra Rose (Age: 30)
copyright 09-19-2003

Age Rating: 18 +

Homophobia and Transphobia
The last two acceptable prejudices

Here at PnP, I have honored to be able to go on a journey with all of you. Through fear, self discovery, hiding, then to being out of the closet to all including my family, you all have been there and traveled along the path with me, never discriminating or saying a harsh word. Always urging me on. It is you here who have given me hope.

But now a problem has arisen before my eyes. And I hope to share this problem with you.

There are a few forbidden words in today’s society. Words never written, never spoken, always a secret insult and something that makes the innocent blush. Two of which hold a very strong spot close to who I am and what my life is about. One is Queer. Two…Transsexual. These words seem to be forbidden from the thoughts of people, unless it is to center their hate at them. At us. But hate is a branch of fear, fear from misknowing, and all of this branches from something called ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is a sociological term that one group is superior to another. Only through ethno methodology do we understand this. Ethno methodology is the study of the social construction of reality. You see, reality is only contrived by society, and it is society that decides that there must be male and female. There is nothing in between. But let me ask you this:

What is the difference between a boy and a girl?

You might answer with two other strictly forbidden words! Penis and Vagina . GASP! Body parts, just like elbow and forehead. But why do we have trouble saying those two words? Because of societies decision to make those words bad. And I will tell you right now that there is no such thing as clear cut gender. And this is the proof I have for you.

A child is born with both genitalia. Male and Female. Mother makes a split second decision to have the child be a female, but it is a mistake. The hermaphrodite child was not meant to be a female. Instead, its testosterone level is higher than its endorphin count and its brain and body is meant to be a male’s. What now? What gender do we call that child? Do we say that “she” is trapped in a female’s body? Do we label them “it”? Or instead, do we turn our heads. “It’s not our problem. They shouldn’t exist.” Rock back and forth behind our ethnocentrism, chanting this mantra repeatedly. But is that true? Should they not exist?

Society wants to pretend that transsexuals are nothing more than a phantasmagoria. A nightmare that will fast go away. But they are wrong. Transsexuals, transgender, Drag Kings, Drag Queens, transvestites…they’re here to stay. And no amount of rocking back and forth or tapping of the heels will make them go away.

It is the same with us queers; especially the one’s who dress as the opposite sex. Transvestites. Almost as bad as transsexuals or…penis! Look at the murders that have occurred in the past years? A boy beaten and hung up, naked and exposed on a farm to die. Or in Ohio, a less known case of a boy who went to a private school, got beaten so badly he had brain damage. So badly he wandered out of his house after being released from the hospital, with the mentality of five year old, and walked onto a freeway.

Even here in the city I live in. One of my own friends dragged outside, beaten with a baseball bat until his brother came out with a gun. Violence and inability to acceptance run rampant.

Another story for you, dear readers, to dwell on.

Two years ago we watched a film in my Health class on hate crimes. On the screen, a group of twelve boys dragged out a smaller one into the middle of a dark street, into the midst of the flood of a streetlight. There, the proceeded to beat the boy. Each one took their turns, kicking him harder and harder in the stomach and in the face, fists raining down like hail before a tornado, slamming him in the face, chest, back, stomach, and arms. The view of the camera, held by some of the other teens as they laughed, showed the blood and tears streaking down his face as he begged for them to stop. Pleaded that they don’t continue, but they did. And they laughed. One urinated on his now bloody face, another ripped his clothes off. And then, with a stick, what they did and what they said I won’t even begin to say. All because he was gay?

And what was the reaction of my classmates?

“Fucking Faggot. Deserved every kick.”

This is our future. This is society.

Let me give you a few more figures to go with from the Human Rights World Watch for 2001.

The military, our armed guard and forces meant to protect us, has a well known policy called the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Let me give you some facts directly from their site on what this lovely little “advancement” has done.

“From 1994 to 1999, a total of 5,412 service members were removed from the armed forces under the policy, with yearly discharge totals nearly doubling, from 617 in 1994 to 1,149 in 1998. In 1999, the number of such separations dropped slightly, to 1,034; nevertheless, the discharge rate was still 73 percent higher than it had been prior to the implementation of the policy. Women were discharged at a disproportionately high rate, while the policy provided an additional means for men to harass women service members by threatening to "out" those who refused their advances or threatened to report them, thus ending their careers.”

And what of school? The place we send our children to be safe? If your child has “different tendencies”, or happens to be homosexual, according to the same Human Rights Watch for 2001, this is what happens:

“They were nearly three times as likely as their peers to have been involved in at least one physical fight in school, three times as likely to have been threatened or injured with a weapon at school, and nearly four times as likely to skip school because they felt unsafe, according to the 1999 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Most alarmingly, the survey found that those who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were more than twice as likely to consider suicide and more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers.”

And what of actually teaching this kids that their emotions aren’t wrong? That they’re not freaks and taking away that veil of misknowing and providing a light of knowledge. Here’s what the Humans Rights Watch for 2001 found.

“A South Carolina statute provided that health education in public school ‘may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from hetexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.’ Similarly, a measure on the November ballot in Oregon would provide that ‘the instruction of behaviors relating to homosexuality and bisexuality shall not be presented in a public school in a manner which encourages, promotes, or sanctions such behaviors.’”

And many of you might be wondering, “isn’t it better now?” Is it?

Are your children being taught that homosexuality is not a bad thing, but is a thing that many people can’t help, and shouldn’t be discriminated against? Are they being taught that violence against any person, even if they do change sex or happen to be a “faggot” is bad, and that not only is it bad, but that they’re humans as well?

What are your children being taught?

My father said once that these things are only issues because we make them issues.

Do you think that’s true? Is it not an issue that homosexuals can’t marry, transsexuals are killed and courts provide, on average, half the time a murder of a straight white male would commit? Are these savage crimes not mimetic of the Lynching on Black’s not even a century ago?

And how can you help?

Knowledge starts at home. Like you teach your children about drugs, sex, and racism, teach them about Homophobia and Transphobia. But providing an atmosphere of openness and acceptance to all groups and people, not only will your child grow up with a much more open mind and ability to accept and move on more, but if your child ever has to come face to face with the facts that they too might be gay, they won’t have to feel ashamed or be caught in what sociologist called a “state of Anomie”, where they feel so lonely and pulled away from everyone that it can lead to suicide. Also, if you are in school, it’s your job, your duty as a human to defend those who are discriminated against.

If you hear the words “Fucking Faggot,” in reference to a kid who’s gay, or see a kid who people talk about badly because he’s gay, drop in the fact that he’s human. Don’t participate, and try to help them out. It can be just the words that can lead a child to suicide. Just the threats from the peers.

I know this has been long, but hopefully many of you have read this, and have come to at least realize the problem. If you would like to know anymore information, or have a question to ask me, or even a flame, I don’t mind. Send them as you want.

Thank you for reading.

For more information on statistics from 2001, view:

Visitor Reads: 1963
Total Reads: 1997

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        02-08-2006     Jordan Screws        

Yes... homophobia and transphobia are problems that won't leave anytime soon. No matter how much the perpetrators try to rationalize their actions, they still know deep down that it's wrong. I don't mind being around homosexuals or transsexuals, and as long as they don't push their lifestyle on me, I am cool with them. I know that sounds bigoted, but I am entirely heterosexual and am willing to accept that others have different lifestyles provided they respect my right to my heterosexual lifestyle.

That being said, conformity is a powerful social force, and there are mindless bigots that will use violence to force their opinions upon others. People who choose to exercise their alternative lifestyle have the same human and civil rights as the "mainstream" people, but the self-appointed "saviors" fighting the homosexual/transsexual "menace" fail to see that. A well-done work and like Gregory said, it is scholarly. One day after we are all dead, perhaps society can come to terms with the fact that not everyone buys into conformity... or we can start the change now!

        06-18-2005     Andrew Findlay        

Unfortunately, society is full of wonderful good intentions which they consistantly fall short of. Anybody who deviates from what society considers to be normal is ridiculed and are sadly sometimes the victims of violence. Why the hell should someone feel guilty just because they don't absolutely conform to the expectations of society.
This is one of the reasons I have seperated myself as much as possible from society. This is why I hide behind a computer screen to express my views. While I am heterosexual myself, I have absolutely no problem with anyone who has a different sexual orientation to me. We are all individuals, and it is our differences that make life interesting, more than that though, I believe very strongly in the rights and freedoms of the individual. I say 'Society be damned!'
I fear that it will be a long time before society accepts those who are different from what is considered 'normal'.
We must all have our own views and beliefs when it comes to our lives, because IT IS our lives. Society is a prison with very high walls, and sadly, it will likely be a good long while before that wall is torn down.
Sorry this was so long, but your story reminded me of why I really, and truly, hate society and all of its precious little rules.

        10-02-2003     Gregory Christiano        

You've tackled a very serious subject in a most scholarly way. Prejudice is forever busy in any society.

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