You Deserve Better from Mainstream Media
How Society Has Wronged You, Not the Other Way Around
You Are Loved, You Deserve Better from Mainstream Media
As a cisgender, heterosexual female, I will not speak for the LGBTQ+ community. I write as a supporter, friend, and someone who wants to help fight for further representation, rights, equity, and equality. Given recent events, we want to dedicate this blog post to the LGBTQ+ and, specifically, the transgender community. I have recruited my best friend, Beatriz, to help guide the discussions in this post (and help edit and co-write a few pieces to create a more accurate and effective discussion). This is not only one of the most eloquently spoken (well, written) blog posts written by me, but it is hopefully a helpful and supportive discussion. Around the different discussions about gender, sex, and sexuality, only one thing truly matters: you should be able to express and identify yourself however you deem fit without being penalized for it.
As previously mentioned,I reeled in my best friend, Beatriz, when brainstorming for this blog post. I was lost on where to take it or what would actually be useful / supportive. They described the various ways the society’s norms and expectations cause gender dysphoria and feelings of misplacement. Just to name a handful or related topics: bathrooms, clothing and presentation, pronouns, and much more. One Google search and you can see how the transgender community has to face struggles in healthcare, federal identification, schools, workplace, passports and traveling, and much more. One of my other friends, who works in a gym, falls into a loss for words when people ask about lockerroom accommodations for those who are transgender / non-binary / gender non-conforming. For those who may ask (which you shouldn’t) why they need accommodations – their own safety and their own comfort. They shouldn’t have to get nudged into a box that does not fit them. This is just the surface, as these outside and consequential issues cause deeper, emotional, mental, and physical complications, too. We have seen, throughout this year alone, the multiple instances in which people sought to identify and oppress and discriminate against this community. Beatriz suggested that I focus on a blog that just helps bring more open discussions and normalizations.
One main topic Beatriz described to me was gender normativity, and the importance of normalizing and validating people’s personal narratives. One thing I have come to learn is each individual’s experiences in life are unique to them, right? Well, the LGBTQ+ community is no different. Not everyone who is transgender will transition with hormone therapy or reconstructive surgeries. Despite taking estrogen or testosterone, that does not mean the transgender individual will identify as a transman or transwoman.
ArtCredit: Beatriz Yumul
They may identify as non-binary, rephrasing their identification as being transmasculine or transfeminine. Just because someone identifies as non-binary does not mean their pronouns are automatically they / them. Validating experiences means that people can identify themselves in the way that feels best for them. Beatriz also emphasized that whether a transgender or non-binary individual feels most comfortable representing themselves in a way that aligns with masculine, feminine, or androgynous stereotypes is up for them to decide. Our society’s entire existence associates pink, princesses, dolls, dresses, and beauty (and much more) with femininity. On the flip side, blue, sports, monster trucks, and suits (and much more) with masculinity. Femininity is expected to be clean, put together, and emotional. Being masculine implies being dirty and gross, tough, and only expressing emotions of anger or indifference. These are just a few deep-rooted stereotypes that cause unspoken pressures. Some people may feel conforming to stereotypes is comfortable. But that’s not everyone. Society’s gendered expectations silence the desires of closeted individuals to break out of these normalized boxes and be authentic to who they are. This issue is instinctively implanted at a young age when young children are taunted and teased for playing with the wrong toys or wearing the wrong clothing, pursuing the wrong activity or acting a certain way.
Although much more has been done in regards to representation, acceptance, and laws, these deep-rooted oppressions and laws about how we fit into society have left lots of work to be done. According to a PBS article around cross-dressing laws by their “News Desk”, “Arresting dress: A timeline of anti-cross-dressing laws in the United States” laws were still being amended into the 2000s in terms of allowing opposite sex attire to be worn (such as 2010, Oakland California amended the Immoral dress code, ridding of a phrase about dressing in the attire of the opposite sex ). Yes, it’s good they amended that law. However, it was amended 10 years ago. This was not far back. In addition to this, going deeper, the Transgender Law Center, an organization that works to change laws and policies, while also providing programs that focus on leadership and empowerment of Trans people, described 2017 as the “deadliest year on record for trans people with the average age of 30 years old for Black trans victims.” Let that sink in for a moment, and then ask yourself, again, why much work needs to be done for furthered, and accurate, representation.
This link to NAMI’s list of resources and article goes much more in depth about specific struggles faced by those in the mental health community and mental health implications (NAMI – Identity & Cultural Dimensions LGBTQI ). I really want to simplify and include those here to bring more awareness to specifics not already mentioned. After reading through this article, I felt this post lacked true depth, and wanted to bring further representation. As I am cisgender and heterosexual, these are aspects I do not personally understand, but am educating myself on more and more. Listed below are facts directly from the NAMI link:
- Rejection from family member, workplace, or peers – bullying, harassment & abuse are also forms of rejection
- Traumas from discrimination, hate crimes, bullying, rejection, identity-based shame, and more
- Homelessness (120% more likely in LGBTQ+ youth)
- Lack of proper mental health care due to biases / discrimination
Please, again, click the NAMI link to get more indepth facts from this page and a list of mental health resources for this community https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI –
When it comes to sticking up for Trans lives, we are also supporting Black lives and the LGBTQ+ community. To help support, we listed below some organizations and resources to support, tailored for the LGBTQ+ community (some focusing in mental health help):
BEAM – Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (have some areas of focus in the LGBTQ+ community)