As you may or may not know, this blog got started when a “LGBTQ” Center, specifically a “Trans Activism” group (run by a cis man), turned out to be spectacularly transphobic. Sadly, this is not terribly uncommon. Yes, it’s probably ignorance (which is transphobia)- but because the cis-privileged people I had to deal with responded to being told they were being offensive with either “you’re wrong” (and their proof of why was, of course, transphobic) and “it’s offensive to tell me I’m being offensive”, it is officially willful ignorance and not “innocent” misinformation. And while it isn’t my job to educate them, even if it were, I wouldn’t be able to do it and there’s absolutely no way to make this place trans friendly until they get over their privilege.
It bothers me to no end that this place is still called the “LGBTQ Center”. The “T” should indicate that it is a safe space for trans people. A group, club, organization,etc should never call itself “LGBT/Q” unless it backs that up by making sure it’s a safe space for every single letter. That means that if you’re doing activism, you do not drop trans issues to make it easier to make the changes. That means that you don’t stock books like “The Transsexual Empire” anywhere but in a section of “Know Your Enemy”. That means that if people are being biphobic or transphobic or anything else, you speak against it. And if you don’t, but someone else does- you let them and don’t let people bully them into silence. It means that you correct people who make a reference to “both” genders or sexes or being able to determine gender by genitals. That means making it clear that trans men are allowed to use the men’s room and trans women the women’s and trying to have a bathroom for non-binary genders and that anyone who has a problem with trans men using the men’s room or trans women using the women’s room is free to use the non-binary bathroom because you will not be othering trans people.
But that’s not usually what happens. It’s way too common for “LGBT” spaces and groups to be as transphobic as the most anti-gay church. It can even got to the horrific extreme of a trans woman being beaten by cis gay men at a so-called “LGBT” place. And that is not the only time I’ve heard of it happening. I’ve seen cis lesbians bragging about ganging up on trans men who went to a LGBT night club. This is allowed to happen.
No place should ever be allowed to be called “LGBT” unless it is genuinely supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual AND trans people. We should be able to know that places that have the “T” are actually safe for us. But there’s no way to make that actually happen.