All posts by Blue Montana

Blue Montana is the Transgender Programs Manager at The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada and a former Board Member at San Diego Pride. He studied LGBT Studies at San Diego State University. Now he lives in Las Vegas with his husband.

Invisible: Accountability without compassion is an act of violence.

 

Image from https://www.outandaboutnashville.com/
Image from https://www.outandaboutnashville.com/

I was having an interesting conversation with some folks the other day, and it was suggested that those of us in the trans community should always remind people that we want a seat at the table when it comes to discussions with community leaders, or speaking at events. I’m not so sure i’m on the same page as them, so I thought i’d write this blog to discuss it, and possibly help me think the process through.

I’ve been an activist for over ten years, having dealt with nationwide leaders, local political officials, and other movers and shakers in the lgbt and non lgbt community. I’ve always made my voice perfectly clear, and at times had to demand people listen to how certain things affect or don’t affect the trans and gnc communities.

So, here’s where I’m kind of stuck. I’m not sure that having to remind  people that Trans and Gender nonconforming  people exist and want their voices heard should have to be a constant thing.  There are decisions made everyday that affect the lives of those under the trans umbrella, and our opinions are never asked.

When we stand up and talk about what effects us, we’re told to quit victimizing ourselves…to do something about it…to affect change if we don’t like something.  My question is this:  do gay men and lesbians have to remind people they want their voices heard?  Are we as a trans community ever going to have to stop being loud and crystal clear as to what our needs are?

There was an event recently where there was no trans representation from my local community, and when it was asked why there was no one trans to speak at this event, the answer was, “We didn’t think about it. No one from the trans community called and said they wanted to speak.”  Why should we have to?

It says to me, very poignantly, that we always have to remind people to ask us to share our voices and our opinions.  LBG organizations have often taken money and donations from non trans friendly organizations, and when this is pointed out, the answer is “Oh, I didn’t know.”

So now on top of having to constantly remind people to have trans and gnc folks actively participate in community discussions, we now have to remind them to ask places and people they take money from whether or not they’re trans friendly? I say no.

I say they have the responsibility to automatically ask how the business or person they’re taking money from affects change and actively supports the trans and gnc communities. I’m not talking about simply hanging the “T” at the end of the acronym and calling themselves inclusive.

According to a February 2015 publication called TransInformational Impact done by the Funders For LGBTQ Issues, the trans community receives .015 percent of foundation funding, which equals about a penny for every hundred dollars awarded.

We need more pennies obviously, but we also need for them to include us without having to constantly remind them that we even exist. We need to have a seat at the table when decisions are made for and about the trans and gnc communities.  When we do ask to speak up  for ourselves, we don’t need to be told that not everything is about the trans community, or that we’re being aggressive and demanding too much.

The opportunity to have our voices heard loud and clear is not too demanding; it is being equal. It is our equal right not to be “forgotten about” when LGB(T) organizations receive funds from sources that don’t include the diverse trans community. This type of trans exclusion is not ok, and it needs to be called out.

Accountability without compassion is an act of violence. And so is forgetting about or excluding the trans community.  We shouldn’t have to be constantly begging to be included and actively involved in processes and discussions that impact our lives.  We can and will always speak for ourselves, whether or not our voices are wanted or heard. That’s one thing that will never change.

 

Blogger Blue Montana via https://www.facebook.com/transman
Blogger Blue Montana via https://www.facebook.com/transman
Blue Montana on sabfacebook
Blue Montana
Blue Montana is the Transgender Programs Manager at The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada and a former Board Member at San Diego Pride. He studied LGBT Studies at San Diego State University. Now he lives in Las Vegas with his husband.

For Amos

Members of the Burlington community mourn the death of Amos Beede. Photo by Glenn Russell/Free Press at www.burlingtonfreepress.com
Members of the Burlington community mourn the death of Amos Beede. Photo by Glenn Russell/Free Press at www.burlingtonfreepress.com

This Blog in particular is dedicated to  us transguys. We are often the invisible, more silent, yet still harmed component of the transgender and gnc communities.  When I heard about the death of Amos this past memorial day weekend, it got me thinking about the issues transmen face that aren’t often talked about. Everyone in the trans community faces much higher instances of discrimination in housing and work, we face stigmas that no one should ever have to face.

Transmen often blend into stealth lives and on with  life we go. Homelessness is always to quick to rear its ugly head, which then puts us in unpredictable situations. I myself have struggled with being homeless more than once. Its not because I couldn’t get a job, I had one. I simply couldn’t work enough to live in a state that afforded me almost every protection and safety that could be offered to a trans identified individual. I had amazing health insurance, and protection from discrimination, and even the knowledge that I couldn’t be disrespected after I passed away and buried under my birth name in a dress thanks to Toni Atkins and the dignity after death bill she helped pass.

However, homelessness is one issue that isn’t being dealt with  quick enough to stop transwomen and transmen from being sex workers to support themselves. No one should have to sell their body in order to have a roof over their head and eat, yet some do it everyday as a form of survival. Amos was homeless for reasons unknown to me, but what is known to me is that he struggled just as bad if not worse than all us us do, and being trans and homeless took his life. The disparity that regular society needs to recognize  is prevalent now more than ever, and we are standing smack dab in the middle of our own civil rights movement, the right to exist.