And that, folks, is where we’re at. The editorial by a trans woman staff person at Xtra will come out sometime this week, I’ve been told, and last thursday night a community meeting was held to discuss the controversy and think about ways of moving forward – including the possibility of starting a queer and trans newspaper with the aim of better inclusion.
Moral of story: you can save yourself a lot of time by acknowledging when you do something wrong and apologizing for it. Failure to do so can result in hundreds of people, both in your local community and internationally, getting incredibly pissed off at you.
And while I’m at it, let me just say this about that. Cis gay men have a history of marginalizing and degrading trans women. Whether it’s through beating us with baseball bats until we leave their neighbourhoods (like in Montreal and Vancouver in the late 90s and early 2000s – and with flashlights here in Toronto in the past couple of years), using the word tranny to reduce us to minstrel status, or through purposefully using the wrong names and pronouns for us, some cis gay men have gone out of their way time and time again to show trans people, especially trans women sex workers, that we are not welcome in their gay community. And that has to stop right now. This incident is just one small cut in the thousands inflicted on the bodies and identities of trans women by some cis gay men. Failure to recognize it as part of the systemic discrimination and transmisogyny perpetuated in cis gay male culture is ridiculous at best.
We want cis gay men as allies (well, some of us do). Making mistakes is human – I make mistakes all the time, too – but when it happens you need to listen to us, acknowledge us, and apologize to us (or to whomever you’ve hurt). Being gay does not let you off the hook for transphobia, misogyny, ableism, racism, or any number of other oppressive behaviours.
So step the fuck up, guys.