Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Never Without my Permission

I read twitter when I'm procrastinating. Rather it be writing, re-writing, revisions or edits, I procrastinate on twitter. Most of the time it's full of book promotions and other writers like me procrastinating. But sometimes things cross my feed that set me off.

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Sexual assault is still prevalent and completely misunderstood as being an offense. Earlier today I was so pissed off I was in tears because a woman I follow on Twitter was sexually assaulted and then questioned rather or not she really was assaulted because sexual assault has happened to her twice in 48 hours and five times in the last 18 months. Worse, the assault happened at a Pride celebration, a place where queer people of whatever gender and orientation should feel comfortable and accepted.

I have so many issues with this I can't write it all clearly. I vented some of my frustration over twitter before taking some time away from the computer to ramble-rant at my other half about the situation. It is unfathomable to me that any person believes they are entitled to touch another person without their permission. A human being's body does not belong to any other human being and under no circumstance is it acceptable to grab another human being's crotch for any reason.

I was eight years old when I saw the movie Crocodile Dundee. In one scene, Mick is in a bar and is approached by a woman he finds attractive.



Even at eight years old, I knew that was wrong. I learned in Safety Town you don't touch people in areas covered by their bathing suits and that area would most certainly be covered by a bathing suit. I remember telling my parents and they told me it was just a movie. I never thought something like that would happen in real life. Ever.

Now at 35, I realize it does happen and it happens in real life, even at Pride celebrations. And, much to my chagrin, it's not just men. My friend was assaulted by a woman who found it perfectly acceptable to stick her hand on another woman's genitals, unsolicited.

WHO DOES THAT?? Rhetorical question with very real answers. For some reason, people seem to think it is okay to touch a transgender person without their permission in order to identify their sex. Trans* men and women and other gender non-binary persons are not barnyard animals we need to separate from one another. They are not dolls. They don't owe you a feel so you can satisfy your own idiocy.

Would you be okay with someone walking up and grabbing your junk to satisfy their morbid curiousity?

Nearly 50% of transgender and gender non-binary individuals experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Let me restate that. FIFTY PERCENTHALF OF THE TRANSGENDER POPULATION HAVE EXPERIENCED SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THEIR LIFETIME.
WHY IS THIS OKAY?

My friend questioned rather a person grabbing her crotch was legitimate sexual violence. She asked a police officer she trusted if that would constitute sexual assault. The officer confirmed that grabbing someone by the genitals is sexual assault and persons grabbing someone by the genitals would be charged as a sex offender.

And let's talk a little bit about why many transgender men and women don't go for help. I have enough here I can bullet a list:
  1. There is a prevailing theory that men cannot be raped. Men often do not report rape because of the stigma. They are called "lucky" because they "got some" or a "pussy" because they couldn't fend off a woman or a man.
  2. Police and medical personnel enforce the belief that transgender people are to blame for their assault or they are flat out not believed that the abuse happened in the first place.
  3. Many victim services locations are segregated by sex. Many clinics are not educated or are plain ignorant when it comes to transgender or gender non-binary victims.
  4. Transgender men and women are misidentified not only in media but on a personal and federal level.
  5. Trans* people are often arrested instead of the perpetrator of violence, thus reinforcing their forced feelings of guilt. Transgender people and gender non-binary people are made to feel they deserve the abuse. Often they are told they aren't really their gender or are made to feel they are lying for being trans*.
  6. Transgender people are often sought out for their situation. So called "trans chasers" are often abusive and pressure their victims into rape situations. They are told to consider it a compliment that someone wants to be with them.
  7. Mental health providers often enforce these stereotypes and societal norms and alienate the victim further. They self medicate. They become depressed. They commit suicide.
  8. They are not heard. No one listens. No one gives a fuck. And this bears repeating: because of this, they commit suicide. Half of transgender people commit suicide.
They commit suicide. Gender different people are killing themselves because they are being beaten, raped and killed and no one will listen, support or defend them. They are a minority in a minority. They have been beaten back so far that they are too downtrodden to speak up and speak out. The LGBT community, of which the "T" stands for "transgender", shoves Trans* rights to the back of the list. Yes, gay people are being killed, but the numbers are less than those of transgender individuals.


I've rambled because there is SO MUCH to this issue and so little time and space available to touch on everything that is wrong. I tried to make things as concise as possible and I'm certain I missed the mark.

If you are every bit as pissed off as I am that people are DYING and being ASSAULTED simply because society is ignorant and hateful, donate your time and money to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Donating simply to your local LGBT group won’t always help the transgender public.