or the blog on 3 hrs sleep and an infinite amount of caffeine. This is an early blog post before I get going to the marriage equality rally outside the ALP national conference… I am so excited that my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters may get the right to marry, it’s such a basic integral human right and one that’s been denied for almost 8 years and been very hard fought for. ANYHOO i digress.
One of the things i have noticed coming into contact with more trans and gender diverse people is still, unfortunately, a great deal of misogyny from those who primarily male identifying. In our desire to be seen as “real” men, we are often responsible for re-inforcing the sexist structures of the binary gender system we rail against and by our very natures, live outside. This has absolute dire consequences for the transwomen in our lives, as it does all women, it often sees transmen, as i touched on in my last piece, perpetrate violence against women, and be complicit in it.
There are several things I think transmen can do to reject sexism and create a safe environment for the women in our lives, and indeed a more educated and enlightened environment for ourselves.
1. Learn about feminism and about power.. consciously question how your life as a male and your actions influence particularly the women in your life.
2. don’t be afraid to call your fellow trans brothers, or indeed any men, out on their behaviour if you find it disrespectful or harmful to women. This has been the job of women, women have been responsible for calling men out on their behaviour for far too long.. If you know, or feel it’s wrong speak up about it. This can be hugely challenging, but it is a way that you can contribute to changing the culture you live in.
3. Reject mainstream images of women in popular culture. this includes pornography and sexist advertising. Not only do these images represent conforming to a binary gender system they are also inherently harmful and often violent. Also support any initiatives that improve the lot for sex workers. The criminal nature of sex work, the fact that it is still largely underground and workers face a penalty for their jobs, puts many women at risk, including large proportions of transpeople.
4. Learn about the economic and social conditions that inform the lives of women, including transwomen. A great deal of violence against women happens as a result of women being trapped in cycles of poverty although it can happen under any circumstances. Transwomen in particular are often put in multiple situations of risk and it is important that we learn and arm ourselves with enough knowledge and a desire to act to rectify these circumstances.
5. Get your fellow counter-culture men together and educate other men. Run groups, talk about the ways our male identities can be used to empower and formulate new ideas about the world we live in and show a concern and compassion for the people we live with. This to me is the most vital, practical thing we can do. We should under no circumstances be a part of the culture that has the ability at times to hurt us too..
It’s now off to rally i go.. so excited. i can’t even!!!