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Written by: gemma |
This entry was posted on May 12, 2012. It was filed under Articles and was tagged with twitter posts.
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Jim,Okay, but I do a lot of educating – I have a blog deedcatid to it (Emily’s one of my co-bloggers). If I’m face-to-face with someone I don’t have any investment in, and they say something ignorant, I am likely to blow them off because at that point in time, I cannot adequately judge whether they’re just ignorant or hostile as well, and that kind of exchange is exhausting.If it is someone I have some investment in, I might take some effort. But my experience is that many cis people, whether they’re just ignorant or not, tend to start digging their heels in when you tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about with regards to trans people. There’s a kind of assumption that ‘cis’ is the right and natural way to be, and being cis gives one enough information to make judgements about trans people. Not all do this (I know many many cis people who do not), but even when hostility’s not a factor, defensiveness often is.So if I want to give someone a teaching moment, I have to assess whether the situation looks like it’ll get anywhere – is the person talking to me invested in my well-being? In any other trans person’s? Likely to do something harmful? Would it be safer to just correct this person and move on?It’s not clear cut as it might look because for cis people, the opportunity to educate other cis people about trans issues isn’t the same as it is for trans people.Cis people who step up and educate other cis people aren’t likely to be discredited for being trans in the first place, which is a major hurdle. Cis people do not have to fight through the negative assumptions about trans people being applied to them in order to make a basic point in the first place.For trans people, every encounter with a cis person has the potential to go bad – someone asks an insensitive, invasive question, or makes an insensitive, invasive, statement. For me, it’s not something I can just put away and pretend it doesn’t exist.So I write my blog and I take the initiative in picking how and when I engage with ignorance elsewhere.
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