Tuesday, 17 May 2011

IDAHO: Trying to do

For International Day Againist Homophobia and Transphobia (aka IDAHO) I thought I'd try to get out some ideas that have been percolating for a while.  I might bumble through this a bit, and I'm writing in the hope of getting some feedback about this, so please comment gently.  I'm going to focus more on the Transphobia part of IDAHO, as that's the bit that's newest to me and I feel I have a lot to learn about trans issues.

At school I remember an English teacher telling me to avoid using the same word too many times in a paragraph.  Writing about feminist stuff you end up using "woman" a great deal, and I struggle sometimes to come up with variants.  For a while there I thought I had a brain wave that would give me another option to alternate with, by using "XX."  So I played around with that for a while, months I suspect, peppering it gleefully through my rants about A, B and C, ignorant to what I was really saying.

I don't use it now, because being XX is not the defining characteristic of being a woman imho.  It's taken me a while to realise this, and I apologise wholeheartedly for it. 

I've done other exclusionary and unhelpful anti-trans stuff too, I'm sure, not least in writing about abortion focusing on "a woman's right to choose."  While I think there is a strong gender dynamic to the abortion debate, I respect that not everyone who becomes pregnant will identify as a woman.  And thus access to abortion is not just about a woman's right to choose.

I want to thank V for helping me have a few aha moments about this along the way.  I'm definitely open to some more.

To focus more on the overall point of IDAHO, I've been thinking about Yoda.  He was right about "...Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate..."  It seems to me that people tend to fear things they don't understand, and can't control.  One option is to just chillax and shrug and learn when you can.  But it seems there are lots of people who don't take that up and instead opt for the Dark Side.

Hating someone not because of what they've done but because of who they are attracted to, how they identify themselves, the colour of their skin, their gender - it all baffles me.  Why would you expend so much energy hating someone you've never met, or don't really know, because of something that is totally irrelevant to how you live your own life?

Today is a day to say no to homophobia and transphobia.  And everyday is a day to reject hate based on irrelevancies.  Hate someone for how they act; how they treat you, or their kids, or their dog, or their employees, or women.  But hating them for their identity or their sexuality?  That's just lazy - surely you need to know more about someone before you can feel that strongly for or agin an individual?  It must get really tiring to hate so indiscriminately. 

Big love to all my friends today.  If George Lucas had ever got around to making any more Star Wars films (and gee am I grateful he didn't after the terrible prequels) I hope he would have got around to Yoda telling us that love and tolerance are the antidote to hate and fear.  When it comes to being inclusive, try is on the pathway to do.


Deep said...

What saddens me is that the combating transphobia element of IDAHO has been eliminated from the acronym presumably in the interests of creating a cutesy joke about an obscure US state. Why isn't it IDAHT?

Julie said...

I was worried about that too, which is another reason I chose to write mainly about transphobia.

V said...

What Deep said.
Once again, trans people are being thrown under the bus for the sake of an acronym that sounds kewl.
It's a token effort, at best.
Or is that 'as usual'?

I have to say, Julie, that you won't get any more 'aha!' moments out of me, since the last lot that you gained insight from took a really hard toll on me.

I'm glad that some good came out of them, but the price is too high.