So my life right now is like busy times seventeen hundred unicorns. Like not busy, but BUSY. This is a good thing, most of the time. Sometimes being busy can stress you out, where you just want to sink down onto the floor and fill tiny vials with your tears and then sell them as unicorn sweat to people Craigslist. But then sometimes being busy is like snorting a bunch of pixie stick dust and you’re like BRING IT ON, WORLD, FIGHT ME!!!! And then you sing the part of that one Front Bottoms song where he yells “I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids.” Except there will be no steroids. Only pure, unadulterated (okay, probably adulterated) ASS-KICKING ENERGY.
One of the many things I did this week was attend a group created by one of my friends called Queer Theory Wednesday. It is held on Wednesdays, and you guessed it, we talk about queer theory. One of the topics we raged about (I mean, discussed) was same-sex marriage.
Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should have the right and opportunity to get married if they so choose. But I also think that right now we need to stress the difference between an option and an obligation, and what this current “option” does and does not do. There are many reasons to get married and so many reasons not to. Also, a fact that many people don’t know is that same-sex marriage does not guarantee queer people equal rights. For example, if a trans* person wants to get legally married and change their name (from a legal name to their real, chosen name) it will cost them over $4000. That’s right. And since many trans* and other types of queer people are close to the poverty line (in short version, because of systematic oppression), there are many classist implications that still prevent people who want to get married from doing so. Not to mention polyamorous relationships that the government still doesn’t (and likely never will) recognize. Here is an awesome article that sums up some of my thoughts:
You also may have heard about this little thing called ENDA. Basically, if ENDA passes in the House (it already passed the Senate), queer and trans* people will finally have some basic protections. These basic protections include things like not being able to be fired from your job purely based on your gender expression or sexual orientation. Many people don’t know that this is not already the case. In at least twenty states, you can still be legally fired from your job based on your sexual orientation. In thirty-one states you can be legally fired for your gender expression. Whoa, right? (Also, big shock, one of them is Texas).
I think that is really messed up. Really, really messed up.
Same-sex marriage, while nice for those who are religious or want their relationship to be validated by the state (or can afford either of those things), does not pay the bills, my friends. It’s also not quite saving all the lives I want it to. In fact, (prepare yourself for a shocking and unacceptably high statistic), 41% of trans* people try to commit suicide at some point in their lives, compared to the 1.6% national average. I think that issue deserves a little more attention, here.
I know this might have been a lot to digest. And some days, when I think about how the cards are so stacked against me, it’s upsetting. It hurts to live in a world that sometimes feels like it couldn’t give two shits about my existence. But this is called the Optimistic Pluot. And I recognize that problems can’t be solved by mere optimism -we need people to actually do things about them- but optimism helps me, personally, to not become part of the 41%.
So here’s a great .gif my best friend made of my hands during my poems.
Sometimes you’ve just got to focus on the ones that love you in order to get through the tough stuff. Also sometimes you need to rage and then have all your friends send letters and phone calls and show up with their own bodies on your congressperson’s doorstep until finally all people will be treated with some basic human dignity.
But what can we do about this, Renee?? Don’t worry, one of the next few posts will include ways in which you can be a better trans* ally. For now, let’s focus on being aware of the ways in which we are privileged and the ways in which that privilege contributes to systems of oppression (we’ll get into that more later as well).
Oh dang it! I almost forgot about the Peach-O thing. Mid-bite, I was informed they are not vegetarian. (I’m a vegetarian). They have ground up cow bones in them. GROSS.