So, Keith, the cis leader of the
“trans” “cissupremacist people who want to earn liberal brownie points” group on campus, sent an email to my partner saying that he “understands” what a bad situation Rayn may be in. Not because Rayn (my partner) is a trans person on a campus where the only “trans” group is run by a cissupremacist asshole- but for having a crazy-ass partner who doesn’t accept the true value of “allies” like him and, seeing as Keith thinks it’s fine to drag his girlfriend into disputes so he doesn’t have to accept he’s wrong, I must think it’s fine to drag Rayn into my disputes. I don’t, I tell them about it because, being my partner, they generally appreciate knowing why I’m foaming at the mouth and sharpening my axe. But, unlike Keith, I don’t try to drag Rayn into arguments I’m having with other people just so I don’t have to admit I’m wrong.
He also apologized in case he “may have” offended my partner. This one really pisses me off because it says that he doesn’t think he was actually offensive to trans people- just that I’m an oversensitive jerk who doesn’t acknowledge that allies are so much better than me and I must worship the ground they walk on. (which I don’t acknowledge because, you know, that’s bullshit) There was also no mention of how, if he had offended Rayn, he’ll work hard to ensure that it never happens again. Just that he’s “sorry” about it.
Now for the title.
I have no faith in Keith’s “trans-awareness”. In fact, I’m pretty damn sure he’s a completely ignorant (read: TRANSPHOBIC) jerkwad. Awhile back he got offended at the suggestion anyone could think he was a trans man. Anyone who knows trans men know that many of them pass as cis men (if they wish to, and I know some who have without hormones), so basically Keith is offended that anyone could think he looks like a cis man. What he was probably thinking? “How dare you suggest I look like a girl!“. Yeah. That’s not offensive at all. (and this is ignoring the fact that, no matter how they look, trans men look like men because they ARE men, which is a damn important fact that a real ally sure as hell better not ignore)
So, what does this mean about Rayn and I? It means that it’s very possible that to our “ally” Keith, Rayn is a white straight cis male- just like him! (I promise not to punch him as hard as I want to for how incredibly offensive this is to both of us††) Rayn’s colorblindness and hearing impairments also aren’t visible, our financial status isn’t something we talk about†, we don’t get into what kind of bodies* we have, nor do we get into whether or not we’re neurotypical*- and, of course, they’re both white and have access to education- so, look, they have even more things in common! (and by things I mean privileges. Nothing bonds like being able to reminisce about how the people your privileges have screwed over are just whiny anti-[privileged group] reverse-[discrimination] jerks) While I am a lowly… whatever Keith thinks of me. At minimum, I’m lacking one privilege (male) on him. A privilege that people often use to insist that those lacking it are “irrational and feeble-minded“. (note: I am not saying that this is worse than any other privilege, I’m merely pointing out that years of cismisogyny have laid the groundwork for Keith to easily dismiss MY complaints while acknowledging Rayn’s due to our respective [mis]assigned sexes).
Do I know if this is what Keith is doing? No. But that’s the thing about being part of an oppressed group- sometimes the worst attacks are those that aren’t obviously attacks. Most white people don’t walk around shouting racist slurs, instead they do little things that make people of color uncomfortable but that any white person could look at and say “That wasn’t racist!”, completely erasing the right that people of color have to decide whether or not something is offensive to them just to protect our privilege (and you know that if a person of color ever says something that makes white people uncomfortable, other people of color aren’t allowed to say “that wasn’t racist!” and the white person’s concerns will be seen as valid).
This is a big question, though- If Keith actually accepted trans people, if Keith thought that Rayn had been [mis]assigned female at birth instead of male, if Keith couldn’t read our relationship as “straight”, if Keith knew about Rayn’s impairments- would Keith still be offering Rayn the olive branch that he’s been using to beat me about the head and shoulders with?
(I also wonder if Keith would behave like that if he knew that Rayn and I were married**, because he’s being incredibly dismissive of our relationship by suggesting that Rayn should, or even could, be friends with someone who’s been so horrible to and has such low regard for me.)
*and not just because I’m still not sure if we are neurotypical or not, but I’m really leaning towards “probably not, but more than we could be”
† we are not completely poor, we do have some privilege in that respect, but we’re worse off than the vast majority of people at this school, and it’s very likely that Keith is included in the list of people we’re worse off than, and classism is so often ignored despite being damn prevalent. I still think that the reason this school trusts us so much is because it presumes that everyone in attendance is upper class…
†† I’m only not punching him because I’m not getting expelled over this waste of skin.
**Yes, we sadly have gotten the government involved in our relationship. But we were married long before that happened so it’s true in both senses.