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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Voice is a Tool for Others

There have been so many times in my life that I wish I would have spoken up and didn't. When I was younger I remember that I always wanted to play with toys that girls played with, but never had the guts to ask for. Every time I have ever been misgendered and stay silent because I think it is not worth it to correct people and because I become to sad because of all the memories of my early life when that was very normal. I don't feel like I can use my voice in some situations because all my voice does is complicate things. Before I can tell my story, I have to start with lots and lots of definitions in order for people to understand what I am talking about in certain areas.

Words like cisgender most people don't know or don't understand what it means, so before I tell people that cisprivilege exists, I must first go back and explain what it means to be cisgender. Cisgender means that your identity as a man or a woman matches up with what your were a assigned at birth. Cisprivilege is the unfair, and I would argue undeserved, privilege that people have simply because they are born that way. When I am trying to get my raw anger or any other kind of emotion out there about being silenced in this word, having to stop and define that stuff takes away the impact. Even the emotion of what I have written above can get lost with people wondering about the definitions that I have just mentioned. My voice is limited to the role of educator in most situations, but to go a long with that my voice is controversial, because of who I am.

When I get up and speak about my issues and needs as someone who is a trans a lot of people I am speaking to view me as having an agenda in the worst sense of the word. Doesn't matter what I say about trans issues, it is pretty much automatic that people assume that I have some agenda. Maybe I do have an agenda, but the truth is EVERYONE does. There isn't a single person in our society that doesn't have an agenda typically around topics that are personal to them, but no, when a trans person or a LGB person or any other marginalized group gets up there and starts talking we are automatically seen as having an agenda. My voice is limited and seems to be something I have no control over.

I am accepted to talk and bring up the issues when called upon, but not when no one asks I am expected to remain silent. If I speak up when not asked to, I am seen as trying to polarize or “transjack” a movement because I am not going along with what they are saying and arguing for. I am accused of alienating “allies” that want to help and get me my equal rights, when I call them on not being inclusive and ignore trans issues all together. My voice is used against me when all I am trying to do is get them to do what they claim they are doing. Heaven for bid I want to be able to see myself in a movement I am expected to fight for. My voice is never fully considered at all.

My voice is not a tool that I can effectively utilize. My voice is a tool that other people use when they want me to bring stuff up. My voice is used for others and not for myself. Yes, I try to break that trend, but sometimes after many people tell me to shut up, tell me I am polarizing or transjacking THEIR movement, sometime its just easier to stop because I shouldn't have to be the one educating people about my issues all the time. I am a person. I have a voice. My voice is mine and I will use it as I damn well please.

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