Laverne Cox Article, “Everybody’s Trans.” Check It Out!

Posted on June 21, 2012

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I stumbled across this article today, written for the Huffington Post by Laverne Cox, wherein she describes how the lines between gender expression and sexuality are blurred in our culture. Herself trans., Cox introduces her piece profoundly, writing,

When I was bullied as a child, called names, chased home from school, and sometimes physically attacked, it was because of my gender expression. The way I acted was way more feminine than how most of the people around me thought a boy “should” act. Though I was often told I acted like a girl as a child, I was also usually called anti-gay slurs, like “sissy” or “faggot.” I was bullied because of my gender expression, but everyone called it “gay” years before I knew I liked boys, years before I understood I was trans.

She identifies this misunderstanding with our sexist culture’s obsession with binary gender and sexuality. Indeed, the homophobia rampant in our world points to an understanding of gender which necessitates a normal sexuality wherein men must be attracted to women and women to men. Those who do not are labeled “other.” What appears to also be true, according to Cox, is that men do not want to appear soft, that is “like a woman,” and are subsequently identified as “gay.” Of course, at that point the problem is revealed: gender performance is confused and wrapped up in sexuality.

Cox’s thesis is summed up well here, and her whole article is worth a good read:

Also, we can begin to spread the word that trans issues are gay and lesbian issues and carry this issue to non-LGBT allies, as well. Trans issues are men’s and women’s issues, too. Many of us are constantly putting ourselves and others in gender boxes that we just don’t fit into, whether or not we identify as trans. This is not to negate the specific discrimination that trans-identified people experience daily and systemically, but gender oppression affects everyone. By truly embracing transgender equality, I believe we can all begin to define what it means to be a man or a woman on our own terms and liberate ourselves from the gender oppression we impose on ourselves and each other.

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Posted in: LGBTQ Issues