Saturday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when we remember of all the lives lost to transphobia and hate in this world. My friend Veronica points out it’s also a day to honor the resilience and trans and gender non-conforming folks, and all those who survive and thrive in a difficult world.
This story is a reminder that gender policing has serious negative consequences on all of us, in different ways, whether we are trans or not.
A 12 year-old girl named Randi was beaten by five other students in Mississippi, according to Change.org:
“They started talking about me like I was a man,” she told local news station WREG. “That I shouldn’t be in this world. And my name was a boy name.” The four girls and a boy surrounded her after a Fellowship of Christian Students meeting, and, she said, kicked her in the rib and leg, hit her in the face, sat on her, pushed her face into the floor, and threw her onto a cafeteria table.
We don’t have to be trans, or even LGB, to feel the effects of gender policing (Randi is reportedly not LGBT). If we really examine it, it’s likely that all of us have felt the affects of gendered rules and restrictions. Most of us learn these rules early on, as young kids. Most of us avoid violence, don’t have our safety comprised.
We are the lucky ones.
It doesn’t take much (a unusual name, haircut, clothing choice, mannerism) for us to feel the weight of these rules. It doesn’t take much for the fear of gender transgression, of gender rule-breaking, to turn to violence.