Friday, February 27, 2009

Our Secret Hate

I've been thinking a lot the last few days about discrimination against transpeople, and the LGBT community as a whole.

It occurred to me that on a whole, we tend to expect the worst from people. Our life experiences have shown us that when we out ourselves to family, friends, religious people, work, etc., things tend to go badly. We're met with hatred, misunderstanding, miscommunication and ignorance. Because of this, we are guarded around "outsiders" - people who aren't members of the exclusive LGBT community. We expect to be met with these negative reactions, and prepare ourselves to lash out. We wait, ready to strike back and defend ourselves.

What happens when the blow never comes? What do we do when someone stops, and steps forward, reaching out in an attempt to understand, us with our fist held back ready to strike at an attack that doesn't exist?

I've noticed in some cases, people in the LGBT community will lash out anyways, perhaps some manner of "preemptive strike". Maybe it's just easier to start swinging and keep them at an arm's (or a fist's?) length than to meet them halfway. It's possible we're just sick of dealing with it, and would rather not bother with the effort of helping them understand. Why would we? They never listen anyways!

Considering all of this made me come to the conclusion that sometimes we bring homophobia and transphobia upon ourselves. When people respond in this fashion, all we're showing them is that we're unapproachable, angry people who don't want acceptance or understanding. We don't want justice. We want revenge. We want the "str8s" to just go away. It's our own little form of separatism. It's our secret hate.

If someone is trying to understand us and we chase them away, we've lost another ally. We've made that person less likely to try and approach another LGBT person on friendly terms. We've potentially added another notch to the Bible Belt. We've lost another vote against Proposition 8, or Amendment 2.

If people outside the LGBT community are willing to step forward in trust and understanding, I'm willing to meet them halfway. It's not easy, and it's not supposed to be. You can't change a millennium of programming in one blog post, but maybe you can change someone's mind for just a few minutes. Even a moment of reconsideration is worth the effort. It's possible that our actions are futile. It's also possible to change someone for a lifetime. We'll never know until we try.

I'm going to end the cycle of hate, starting with me. I hope you do the same, because no one will accept us if we are unwilling to accept them as well.


  1. ... Which is the difference between what the Courage Campaign is doing now and what other LGBT advocacy groups have done in the past. And I think it works a lot better --- if you make me laugh, or make me cry, I'm a lot more likely to stand up and take your side. If you alienate me or make me angry, you're on your own.

  2. Quite frankly, every movement needs both its outrageous firebrands and its graciously reserved ones. It'd be nice if people were conveniently monoreactive in their behaviour, but they're not. Some people need to be hit in the head, some people need a gentle word. Choose the path that works the best for you, but remember, those men who refuse to fight only sleep easy because they are guarded by those who do.


As always, be respectful of your fellow human beings.