“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Ghandi
It is my opinion that being an ally to the trans community requires me to believe the people in that community. I believe when they tell me that words like “tranny” and “shemale” and “shemail” are harmful and derogatory and embedded in the transphobic violence they experience nearly every day.
What I don’t believe is that those same words are inherent to the politically subversive nature of drag. No one has made that argument in a convincing enough manner that it offsets the harm to our trans friends, family and neighbors. I’m open to that conversation.
In fact, I’ve had the general impression that the trans community is prevailing by their thoughtful, insistent push against white male privilege and their demand that their lives matter, that they cannot continue to be sacrificed or bartered like a commodity for television show ratings.
You could categorize me as an impressed ally who was hoping that RuPaul’s references to “Animal Farm” would lead to an informed discussion on political rhetoric and language policing. Apparently, RuPaul isn’t open to discussing anything with the trans community which is a pity.
Still, I was pretty damn shocked when I saw the video Pittsburgh’s own Alaska Thunderfuck released this week in which they parody the murder of trans activist Parker Marie Molloy.
No, I’m not going to provide a link.
Mocking Molloy? Fine. Misgendering Molloy? Not acceptable, but still part of the parody pantheon I suppose.
Using a hair dryer, various gun shot sound effects and a still image of the Molloy character with a bullet through her brain?
That’s not parody. It is a queer person sending a clear message that other queer people can be shot or otherwise assaulted for disagreeing. It is a disgusting thing to do and not the least bit subversive or intellectually honest. It is a grubby display of male privilege and a horrifying reflection on Pittsburgh’s drag culture.
You do not have the right to first-person threaten another member of our community over a political discussion. And hiding behind a hair dryer is so unoriginal and grounded in the culture that devalues violence against women that I fear we are going to lose all sense of proportion here.
I stand with Parker Marie Molloy, Trish Mifflin, Monica Roberts. I stand with Monica Jones, Betty Janet Skinner, Britney-Nicole Kidd-Sturgis and Cemia Acoff. I stand with Diamond Williams. I stand with my friends whose names I can’t list here. Their lives – their deaths – matter to me.
Speaking of people’s lives mattering to me, I need to once again ask you to consider donating to Cathy’s Closet – one of the key issues we’ve discussed it ensuring that our trans and genderqueer neighbors feel comfortable and dignified seeking support. I’m having a lengthy discussion with The Gender Dances Project about this in the coming weeks. Will you contribute a few dollars to help open Cathy’s Closet by Pride?