Recently, Martina Navratilova came under fire for saying transgender women are “cheating” if they compete in women’s sports. The tennis player said that competing against trans women who are still biologically male makes a mockery of women’s sports. Navratilova wrote in The Sunday Times, “I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.”
Being a former attendee of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, I have heard this talk from transphobic and trans exclusionary radical feminists, a.k.a.TERFs. But I didn’t understand TERFs at Michfest, and I certainly don’t understand them now. We are a community that has fought hard for rights that are constantly being threatened; the last thing we need is infighting. Kind of like the Democratic Party, the last thing they need is infighting, especially when we are heading towards an election year.
Anyone who goes through their lives having to live a gender they don’t believe is their true gender must feel tortured. Who are we to tell them any different? Who are we to question anyone’s identity?
There are times when the LGBT community will eat their own, and this is one of those times, but like the late Babs Siperstein taught Jay Lassiter, people deserve grace. I would bet, unlike Trump, Navratilova didn’t mean to hurt anyone. So we must extend her grace.
There are so many people who have been bullied or worse. In this issue of Out In Jersey magazine, Dominique Jackson shares that when she came out as trans in auditions and interviews, she wouldn’t be seen anymore, and that people in her own community would out her. This is unacceptable behavior.
On the other side of the coin is Trump. He announced in 2017 on Twitter that the country would no longer “accept or allow” transgender Americans to serve in the military, citing “tremendous medical costs and distribution.” This kind of talk from someone who is a leader of our country incites fear and hate.
The Human Rights Campaign reported that, in 2018, there were at least 26 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to violence. The majority of those killed were Black, transgender women. And in 2019, we have already had one woman killed.
This year marks 50 years since Stonewall. Let’s pay homage to everyone who fought for our rights. As a community of hated and feared people, we have got to stick together. Drag queens, queers, gay, lesbians, transgender, bi, whatever you identify with doesn’t matter. If you are a part of our community, we must accept and support you. It is our duty!