Pride Month is Upon Us
This is the eighth article in a series I’m writing on gender. Equal parts personal narrative and transgender studies I hope to explore topics that have, by-and-large, been nagging at me for some time, but that I haven’t taken the time to write about. What does a thing called “The Cyborg Manifesto” have to do with being trans? What’s the relationship between transgender people and Frankenstein’s Monster? What are neopronouns and why do they upset some people? These are just some of the topics I hope to address in this series.
These past couple of weeks since the end of the semester and since I posted my last piece, I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to write here and let me tell you, I have had a lot of ideas, but I haven’t clung to any of them. When I read about Nicole Hall a couple of days ago I wanted to write about her and how we’re (all people who aren’t trans, white trans people and black trans men) failing black trans women. But that piece has been written and written and written. It needs to be said again, it needs to be heard and it needs to be listened to, but I don’t know if me saying it here, now and in this format is going to work, for me or my audience.
On the other hand, my last two pieces have been rather academic, and I’m about to start the literature review for my master’s thesis, so there will be plenty of time for that later.
I started this to write about things I want to write about, and there are still things left on the original list, but I’m finding myself unsure of where to go next.
It’s almost June, and that means that it’s almost pride month. Which means small, dedicated groups of activists and organizers are going to wage their yearly battles against the Bud Light sponsored events that pass for pride festivals all across the country.
Who the hell am I? If I’m a commie, I should point out all the corporate sponsorship and not single out Bud Light. I could be trying to talk about substance abuse among transgender people, but I’m tired of having that conversation. And aren’t I a hypocrite anyway, because I’ve been to pride 3 or 4 times, I think. It’s once a year, let people have their fun.
See, sometimes I get writer’s block, and then sometimes I get, all the counter-arguments have a traffic jam inside my head block, and then I don’t say what I want to say and I don’t write what I want to write because I’m trying too hard to form the most perfect, most infallible argument that I possibly fucking can.
I’ve always hated the idea that pride has had corporate sponsors, and it crawls all up and fucking down me that one of the top sponsors of so many pride events is fucking Bud Light (the public and apparently very gay face of Anheuser-Busch). No lie, I’m not an abolitionist nor am I straight-edge (more hedging my bets against counter-arguments), and I know that the Stonewall Riots happened at a bar, but that happened almost 50 years ago. 50 years later and the ask for sober trans spaces is still seen as laughable, or it’s brushed aside, either way it is ignored, by-and-large.
I don’t know why I expect any different. It’s been 50 years and we’re still waiting for the creation of spaces for rural trans people. It’s been 50 years and spaces for black trans women are still underfunded.
Are trans students any safer in school now then they were 50 years ago, or then they were when I was in school? Now they have to contend, more than ever, with private schools, charter schools, parochial schools and homeschooling.
Those who protest big corporate pride events, they get it. They understand what the Stonewall Riots were about. The Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries weren’t named that because once a year they took a very well organized stroll down the way.
Sylvia Rivera told Leslie Feinberg:
“STAR was for the street gay people, the street homeless people, and anybody that needed help at that time,” Rivera said. Shelter was a big problem for trans street youth. “Marsha and I had always sneaked people into our hotel rooms. And you can sneak 50 people into two hotel rooms.”
Homelessness among transgender people is still an under-addressed issue. I have some $50,000 in student loan debt, and some of that has gone to paying for school (I had the Pell Grant and the HOPE scholarship in undergrad, along with various other scholarships), but a lot of that has gone to making sure that I have a place to sleep at night. I have tried to extend the housing space available to me to other people as often as I can.
50 people into two hotel rooms, I need to learn Sylvia and Marsha’s methods.
I don’t have anything else to say this go-round. During this pride season, may by transgender siblings stay safe, stay warm, stay dry and stay fed.
Have questions? Don’t be afraid to leave them in the comments below! Questions asked may turn into pieces written in the future!
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